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Jammu and Kashmir:

The Impact of Lockdowns


on Human Rights

August 2019-July 2020

Report

THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS


IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR
Jammu and Kashmir:
The Impact of Lockdowns
on Human Rights

August 2019-July 2020

Report

THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS


IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR
TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Acknowledgements 5

2. Report and Methodology 6

3. Executive Summary 8

4. Overview and Human Rights Issues 12

5. Impact on Civilian Security 23

6. Impact on Children and Youth 32

7. Impact on Health 38

8. Impact on Industry and Employment 44

9. Impact on Media 52

10. Conclusion and Recommendations 58

List of abbreviations 61

Appendix A: About the Forum 62

Appendix B: Estimates of Losses to Industry by Kashmir


Chamber of Commerce and Industry 69

Appendix C: Sample Forum Questionnaire 70


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Forum for Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir would like to express deep gratitude
to all those residents of Jammu and Kashmir who responded to the Forum’s questionnaires
and, in particular, to Abhilasha Ramakrishnan and Anjana Ramanathan for their critically
important legal research, and to Narjees Faisal Qadri, Gulzar Bhat, Adil Khan and Soaib
Qureshi, who provided valuable inputs to our work, as well as to research interns Anum
Wani and Sushila Sahay, who collected facts and figures and worked on the final produc-
tion of the report. Finally, many thanks to Jayashree Kumar for proof-reading the report in
record time.

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THE REPORT AND METHODOLOGY

The Forum for Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir comprises an informal group
of concerned citizens who believe that, in the prevailing situation in the former state,
an independent initiative is required so that continuing human rights violations do not
go unnoticed.
This is the first report issued by the Forum. It has largely been compiled from questionnaires
sent by the Forum (sample questionnaire in Appendix C); government sources, media
accounts (carried in well-established and reputed newspapers or television); NGO fact-
finding reports and information garnered through public interest writ petitions; as well
as information received from industry bodies such as the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and
Industry. Though in situ verification has not been possible during the Covid-19 lockdown,
the various sources listed above have been fact-checked against each other to ensure
the information is as accurate as possible, and only that information has been carried
that appears to be well-founded. Where there is any doubt regarding a piece of
information, queries have been footnoted.

hrforumjk@gmail.com

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Members of the Forum


Co-Chairs:
Justice Madan B. Lokur, former judge of the Supreme Court of India
Radha Kumar, former member, Group of Interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir

Members:
Justice Ruma Pal, former judge of the Supreme Court of India
Justice AP Shah, former Chief Justice of the Madras, and Delhi, High Court
Justice Bilal Nazki, former Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court
Justice Hasnain Masoodi, former judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court
Justice Anjana Prakash, former judge of the Patna High Court
Gopal Pillai, former Home Secretary, Government of India
Nirupama Rao, former Foreign Secretary, Government of India
Probir Sen, former Secretary-General, National Human Rights Commission
Amitabha Pande, former Secretary, Inter-State Council, Government of India
Moosa Raza, former Chief Secretary, Government of Jammu and Kashmir
Hindal Haidar Tyabji, former Chief Secretary, Government of Jammu and Kashmir
Shantha Sinha, former chairperson, National Commission for the Protection of
Child Rights
Lieutenant-General H S Panag (retd)
Major-General Ashok Mehta (retd)
Air Vice-Marshal Kapil Kak (retd)
RD Sharma, former Vice Chancellor of Jammu University
Enakshi Ganguly, Co-founder and former Co-director, HAQ Centre for Child Rights
Ramachandra Guha, writer and historian
Anand Sahay, columnist

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On August 4, 2019, a day before the President of India voided all clauses of Article 370
of the Indian constitution and suspended the Jammu and Kashmir constitution, the state
was put under a total lockdown. Around 38,000 additional troops were flown in to enforce
the lockdown, which closed markets, educational institutions and all public spaces for
several weeks. Internet and telephone services were snapped, curfew was declared, public
assembly was prohibited under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC),1
and thousands, including minors and almost all the elected legislators of Jammu and
Kashmir (excluding those belonging to the BJP), were put under preventive detention. Five
days later, the Parliament of India passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act,
dividing the state into two Union Territories, of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. In the
months that followed, national political figures were denied permission to enter the former
state and were turned back from Srinagar airport.
The economic, social and political impact of these actions, and their long duration – eleven
months thus far – have been disastrous. All the former state’s industries suffered severe
blows, pushing the majority into loan defaults or even closure; hundreds of thousands
lost their jobs or underwent salary deferment or cuts; closures of schools and universities
gravely impaired education and added to the trauma of children and parents; healthcare
was severely restricted by curfew and roadblocks; the local and regional media lost
what little independence they had.
Worst of all, there was no elected representative to advocate the interests of the people of
Jammu and Kashmir, since the majority of political leaders were put in preventive detention.
Moreover, many of those that were released, gradually over the past eleven months, had
to pledge that they would not criticize government actions. Statutory bodies to which
citizens could go to seek redress virtually ceased to exist, since all the state commissions

1 The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) was extended to Jammu and Kashmir on August 9, 2019, through the
Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, Fifth Schedule Item 9. Before that the Code of Criminal Procedure,
Samvat 1989 was applicable. Both the Presidential Orders of August 5 and 6, and the Reorganization Act have been
challenged in the Supreme Court of India. Hearings are still to conclude

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– for human rights, women and child rights, anti-corruption and the right to information –
were closed when the state was divided into Union Territories, and the Union Government
decided not to reinstate them, even though Union Territories too are entitled to independent
statutory bodies for oversight.
As a result, there has been a near-total alienation of the people of the Kashmir valley
from the Indian state and people. While alienation of the people of Jammu is not as severe,
their concerns over economic and educational losses as well as policies such as the new
domicile rules, are as substantial.
It is in this context that the Human Rights Forum for Jammu and Kashmir was formed. This
Report seeks to document the numerous human rights violations in the former state over
the past eleven and a half months (August 4, 2019 to July 19, 2020) under five broad heads:
civilian security, health, children and youth, industry and media. Its findings are as follows:
• Counter-insurgency concerns have been given absolute priority over public, civilian and
human security, leading to an across-the-board violation of human rights, including
the vitiation of protections such as habeas corpus, prevention of illegal detention and
strict restrictions on arrest and detention of children. There has been denial of the right
to bail and fair and speedy trial, coupled with misuse of draconian legislation, such
as the Public Safety Act (PSA) and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), to
stifle dissent.
• In the same manner, the eleven months of lockdown, which saw frequent closures,
harassment at barricades and checkpoints, and restrictions on mobile telephony and
internet connectivity, have enormously impacted public health, and caused trauma and
stress amongst the people of Jammu and Kashmir, violating the rights to health and
medical care under the Indian, and Jammu and Kashmir, constitutions. The rights of
children to a trauma-free environment have been arbitrarily ignored.
• The impact on education has been particularly severe. Schools and colleges functioned
for barely 100 days between 2019 and 2020 (the bulk of which were pre-August 2019).
After the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, the limiting of networks to 2G has made it
impossible for online classes to function adequately. Graduate students and teachers
have been unable to participate in conferences or have their papers published, causing
wilful harm to their careers and violating the rights to education under the Indian, and
Jammu and Kashmir, constitutions.
• Local and regional industries have suffered large losses in every sector. Many companies
that are heavily or solely reliant on 4G networks that are available in the rest of the
country, such as tourism and cottage industries, have been forced out of business. The
new domicile rules introduced by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Jammu and
Kashmir administration, moreover, erode prior employment protections for permanent
residents of the former state.

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• The local media has been one of the worst sufferers. Journalists have been harassed
and even had draconian charges slapped on them, for example under the UAPA. Their
content, readership and revenues have suffered such a sharp decline that dozens of
journalists have lost their jobs. The new media policy, which introduces censorship by
the Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) in coordination with security
agencies, is a death blow to the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression.
• Moreover, the Jammu and Kashmir administration’s decision to notify areas of the
former state as ‘strategic areas’ for development by the army suggests further expansion
of the military presence in hinterland and border areas.
Recommendations
1. Release all remaining political detainees who were taken into preventive detention on
or after August 4, 2019. Strictly follow jurisprudence on the rights to bail and speedy
trial. Repeal the PSA and any other preventive detention legislation, so that they
cannot be misused against political opposition, or amend them to bring them in line
with our constitutional ethos. Remove all restrictions on freedom of representation
and expression. Strictly implement juvenile protection legislation in letter and in spirit.
Release all detained juveniles and withdraw charges against them. Initiate enquiries
followed by criminal and civil actions against personnel of police, armed forces and
paramilitary forces found guilty of violation of child rights. Withdraw charges under the
UAPA against journalists and activists.
2. Balance security considerations with public interest, giving utmost consideration to
humanitarian concerns involving the population and eliminating hindrances to the
welfare and well-being of the people. Curb the application of Section 144 to only those
instances in which there is clear and present danger. Ensure that District Magistrates
strictly follow judicial guidelines restricting the use of Section 144. Restore in practice the
humanitarian guidelines to be followed when conducting Cordon and Search Operations
(CASO), to prevent civilian deaths, injuries or any other damage or loss, and adequately
compensate innocent citizens whose houses have been destroyed in Cordon and Search
Operations.
3. Ensure that police and paramilitary forces at checkpoints allow smooth passage for
medical personnel and patients. Where patients lack transport to hospital, provide aid by
making vehicles available. Hold police and paramilitary personnel who harass civilians
at checkpoints accountable and initiate appropriate disciplinary action.
4. Restore 4G internet and mobile services in toto. Noting that Jammu and Kashmir has
below average access of children to online facilities (see section on children and youth,
make additional efforts to provide access for such children.
5. Reinstate all the former state’s statutory oversight bodies, especially those monitoring
human rights, such as the Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission and the
Jammu and Kashmir Women and Child Rights Commission.

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6. Compensate local businesses that were forced to shut down due to the government
lockdown between August 2019 and March 2020 and ensure that they are given the
government aid they require to the fullest extent possible.
7. Rollback the new media policy and encourage all shades of opinion to be freely and
peacefully expressed, as the laws apply in every part of the Indian Union.

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OVERVIEW AND HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES

“A few days before New Delhi’s radical move of August 5, 2019, there was a heightened sense of
uncertainty in Kashmir.
A flurry of Government orders asking different government departments to stockpile rations had
unleashed bedlam. The moving of legions of additional forces to the valley only amplified anxiety and
fear among the people.
Srinagar’s nerve-centre, Lal Chowk, became a maelstrom of crowds, auto-rickshaws and buses, with
people resorting to panic buying of essentials. Petrol stations witnessed long queues of vehicles with
people scrambling to fill up their tanks. The principal hospitals in Srinagar shut their elective theatres.
People took to social media to post goodbye messages for their friends and relatives.
At around quarter to midnight on August 4, the phones suddenly stopped ringing in the valley
and the internet vanished. The next day the balloon went up when Home Minister Amit Shah
informed parliament that the government was revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and
reorganizing the state.
As the worst fears of people with regard to the abrogation of article 370 came true, people did not
understand how to react.”2
***

T he constitutional changes of August 5-6, 2019, bewildered Kashmiris and left them
stunned and dumbfounded. The valley has historically viewed its special status,
founded on its unique, syncretic, socio-cultural and political ethos, as a marker of its distinct
identity. The people, especially the youth, are gravely disturbed at this loss of special status.
Apparently apprehensive of an imminent retaliation by the population, the Union
Government enforced a total lockdown a day prior to the Presidential Order of August 5,
bringing the entire state to a standstill. An estimated 8.8 million mobile telephones were
blocked in the Kashmir valley alone.3 The arrest of over 6,600 people, inclusive of the apex
leadership of mainstream and separatist parties, created a complete political vacuum and
placed the state’s electoral democracy in indefinite suspension. Not surprisingly, the footprint
of security forces had to be substantially enlarged for them to enforce the strict lockdown,
arrest and detain people and prevent protests. Though data is not readily available on the
number of days Jammu and Kashmir was put under curfew, indications are that a ban on
public gatherings remained in force from August 4, 2019 till March 24, 2020, when a national

2 Senior journalist Gulzar Bhat, note to the Forum.


3 Azaan Javaid, ‘J&K has 2 sets of cell-phone numbers — those on ‘white list’ work, ones on ‘black list’ don’t ‘ , The Print,
September 26, 2019.

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lockdown was declared due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the absence of civilian oversight,
these measures further sharpened the mistrust between the people and the government.

INTERNET CLOSURES AND BAN ON 4G NETWORKS


Table 1: Internet closures/restrictions 2019-2020

2019
July 5: Suspended in Shopian (counter-insurgency gunfight)
July 10: Suspended in Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian
(Burhan Wani death anniversary)
July 27: Shopian (CASO)
August 4: Mobile, landline and internet suspended across state
September 9: Some landlines restored

2020
January 15: Broadband and mobile services restored for 1 week
January 25: PS GOJK order that mobile and internet services be restricted to 2G and only
white-listed social media sites allowed
Same day internet snapped
January 27: Internet restored
January 31: PS GOJK order of 25th January extended for 1 week
February 7: Extended again for 1 week
February 12: Mobile, internet services suspended
February 15: PS GOJK order of 25th January extended for 10 days (February 24)
February 24: Extended again till March 4
March 4: Extended again till March 26
March 24: COVID lockdown. 2G restrictions continued.
March 26: PS GOJK order of 25th January extended again, till April 3
April 3: Extended again till April 15
April 15: Extended till April 28
April 28: Extended till May 11
May 11: Continued till May 27
May 27: Continued till June 17
June 17: Continued to July 17
July 8: Continued to July 29

Mobile+/internet shutdowns in previous 5 years


2014-15: 5 shutdowns
2015-16: 5 shutdowns
2016-17: 10 shutdowns
2017-18: 32 shutdowns
2018-19: 65 shutdowns

Source: Compiled from Correspondent, ‘Internet Services Suspended in Kashmir: A Brief History of
Data Shutdowns in The State’, News 18, August 7, 2019, https://www.news18.com/news/tech/internet-
services-suspended-in-kashmir-a-brief-history-of-data-shutdowns-in-the-state-2258401.html, Voices from
Kashmir: Narratives that lost connection (initiative by internetshutdowns.in), 27 January, 2020, https://sflc.
in/using-2g-fight-pandemic-digital-world, Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Department of Disaster
Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, Order No.66-JK (DMRRR) of 2020, https://jkgad.nic
in/commonshowOrder.aspx?actCode=O35860.

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Landlines began to be restored in late 2019 and mobile telephony was restored in January
2020, following the Supreme Court’s order in Anuradha Bhasin v Union of India,4 However,
internet access was limited to 2G services and only ‘white-listed’ social media sites
were allowed. In May 2020, the Supreme Court ordered that the Government of Jammu
and Kashmir (GOJK) set up a special committee to review and determine restoration of
4G services, but the committee was to be composed only of GOJK members, which
defeated the overall purpose of examining the question in an unbiased way, and was
criticized as “outsourcing justice”.5 Whether the committee was set up at all is unclear, but
the GOJK has continued to order restrictions to 2G till date. In the latest GOJK order dated
July 8, 2020, extending the 2G restriction to July 29, 2020, there was no mention of a review
by a special committee. 6
While the provision of 2G services has at least enabled families to contact each other, the
restrictions on the Internet have caused widespread damage to education, health and
industry. This is the longest internet shutdown ever imposed in a democracy, according
to Access Now, an international advocacy group that tracks internet suspensions. Only
authoritarian regimes such as China and Myanmar have cut off the Internet for as long or
longer periods. 7

Overall security situation


The Union and Jammu and Kashmir administrations argue that the overall lockdown
and internet shutdowns are necessitated by the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
But an overall review of security conditions indicates otherwise.
A two-decade rewind brings forth that from 2002, the security situation – despite spikes
in violence in 2008 (the Amarnath land row), 2010 (the Army’s Machhil fake encounter,
resulting in the court martial of five personnel), and 2016 (Burhan Wani’s killing) – was
not allowed to get out of hand. The terror threat witnessed its sharpest decline during the
years of the New Delhi-Srinagar and New Delhi-Islamabad peace and dialogue process
(2003-2007) and this sustained downward trend continued until 2014.
The Government’s own data, provided in a counter-affidavit to the writ petition Mohammad
Akbar Lone and ANR, confirms that incidents of terrorist violence reduced drastically
from a peak of 4,522 in 2001 to 170 in 2013. The reduction in fatalities (civilians, security
forces and militants) from 3552 (2001) to 135 (2013) was equally dramatic.8 Perhaps duly

4 AIR 2020 SC 1308. In this case, the Court, while protecting the freedom of speech and expression and the freedom to
practice any profession over the internet, held that restriction upon such rights would need to be in accordance with Articles 19(2)
and (6) of the Constitution as well as the test of proportionality.
5 Arvind Datar, ‘The Dangers of Outsourcing Justice’, Bar and Bench, June 7, 2020, https://www.barandbench.com/columns/
the-dangers-of-outsourcing-justice.
6 Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction,
Order No.66-JK (DMRRR) of 2020, dated July 3, 2020, https://jkgad.nic.in/common/showOrder.aspx?actCode=O35860
7 Correspondent, ‘Internet Services Suspended in Kashmir: A Brief History of Data Shutdowns in The State’, News 18, August
7, 2019, https://www.news18.com/news/tech/internet-services-suspended-in-kashmir-a-brief-history-of-data-shutdowns-in-the-
state-2258401.html
8 Counter Affidavit on behalf of the Union of India in Mohd. Akbar Lone & Anr. v Union of India & Ors., WP(C)
No.1037/2019 before the Supreme Court of India, pp.21-22.

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elected governments in Jammu and Kashmir, hopes generated by initiation of a political


dialogue for resolution of the Kashmir issue, and more people-sensitive security force
operations contributed to this encouraging development.
But, over the years, the absence of a multi-dimensional dialogue for settling the Kashmir
issue between the Centre and Kashmiri leaders, and India and Pakistan, has given rise
to anger, despondency and despair among people. This is particularly so for youth, who
spearhead militancy. Moreover, the adoption of ‘hard and muscular’ counter-insurgency
measures by security forces post-2017 served to further brutalise society, tear asunder
kinship patterns and provide societal sanction for violence. These cautionary points were
repeatedly brought to government notice by policy analysts and civil society groups, such
as the Concerned Citizens’ Group led by former Union Finance and External Affairs
Minister Yashwant Sinha, but garnered no response, nor were any actions initiated.
The consequential adverse impact on security was, therefore, only to be expected. A near
continuous decline in terror fatalities that had bottomed out in 2013 swung upwards in
most metrics. According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), incidents of terrorist
violence rose from 84 incidents in 2013 to 205 in 2018, 135 in 2019 and 80 in the first
six-and-a-half months of 2020.9 The proportion of locals in militancy and fatalities also
began to rise. According to another SATP report, out of 257 militant fatalities in 2018, at
least 142 were local.10 Likewise, of the 152 militants killed in 2019, locals numbered 120.11
Expectedly, in a mirror-image response to national impulses, radicalization also witnessed
an upswing. Deeply conservative religious-cultural entities have also ramped up their
influence in varied geographies.
Pakistan’s seven-decades-long efforts to fish in the troubled waters of Kashmir continue
unabated. But after the August 2019 political changes in Jammu and Kashmir, it has
gone into overdrive, infiltrating terrorists, ramping up cross-LoC firing, inciting and
radicalizing Kashmiris through virulent social media campaigns, and establishing Kashmir
Cells in its missions abroad as part of Kashmir-specific anti-India information war strategy.
China’s attempts to mobilize the UN Security Council against the August changes, and its
own army’s May 2020 intrusions in Eastern Ladakh have added further diplomatic and
security concerns for the Indian Government. They have also highlighted a trilateralization
of the dispute over Kashmir between India, Pakistan and China, lending a new edge to the
strategic China-Pakistan nexus against India, specifically in Jammu and Kashmir.

9 SATP, ‘Datasheet - Jammu & Kashmir: Yearly Fatalities 2000-2020’,


https://www.satp.org/datasheet-terrorist-attack/fatalities/india-jammukashmir, resulting in the deaths of 86 civilians in 2018, 42 in
2019 and 17 in 2020 (January-July 15). Comparable figures for security forces killed from 2018 to July 15, 2020 are 95, 78 and 33, and
for militants killed 271, 163 and 145.

10 SATP, ‘Jammu & Kashmir: Assessment - 2020’, https://www.satp.org/terrorism-assessment/india-


jammukashmir#:~:text=According%20to%20a%20March%2014,in%20Kashmir%2C%2021%20were%20locals.
11 The SATP datasheet gives higher figures (see fn. 7). These 2019 figures are based on the Forum’s cross-check with security
sources.

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Security operations and people


The comprehensive clampdown of August 2019 did impel visible decline in terrorist related
incidents, overall fatalities and employment of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). During
January-June, 2020, uniformed forces were able to eliminate roughly 130 terrorists and
their top commanders, book and arrest around 250 ‘over-ground workers’ who constitute
their logistics lifeline, and neutralise the incipient threat of global terrorist formations. On
the flipside, instances of attempted and estimated net infiltration have both seen a substantial
rise. Cease-fire violations escalated sharply from 449 in 2016 to 3,168 in 2019.12 Prolonged
lockdowns, arrests and detentions, and restrictions on media and 4G mobile internet
services, appear to have caused worrisome disquiet and seething youth anger.
It is evident that a mix of security consolidation in certain metrics and setbacks in others
has been accompanied by an overwhelming curtailment of freedoms and political rights in
Jammu and Kashmir. The ban on 4G networks is a case in point. While the ban undoubtedly
limits the recruitment, mobilization and planning of militant groups, it has caused immense
harm to people’s lives, industry, health, education and the media. It has also limited
the scope of intelligence agencies to gather early warnings from listening-in.
Moreover, the establishment of a pattern of politics that sees uniformed forces as the vanguard
for force-use rather than for sharply targeted counter-insurgency operations against
known and clearly identified terrorists is problematic. Post August 2019, the intensification
of security force operations and rising number of cordon and search operations – conducted
every single day from the beginning of June 2020 to around mid-July – have exacerbated the
pain and suffering that the people of Kashmir have endured over three long decades.
Furthermore, the Jammu and Kashmir administration’s new media policy (see section on
the media), and amendments to the Control of Building Operations Act, 1988, and the
Jammu and Kashmir Development Act, 1970, again prioritize counter-insurgency concerns
over public and human concerns. The decision to notify areas of the former state as ‘strategic
areas’ to be developed by the army, suggests that the army will have an expanded and
long-term military presence in hinterland as well as border areas, beyond the already
existing cantonments.13 Such an expanded and long-term presence is something the army
has previously sought to limit, even at the height of the insurgency in the 1990s; indeed, as
conflict figures declined, the MHA and the Jammu and Kashmir administration, together
with the security forces, had begun to remove security structures from crowded city areas.
That essentially peace-building policy has been ended.

Human rights issues


In the view of this Forum, there have been systematic violations of human rights in
Jammu and Kashmir from August 4, 2019 to date. This conclusion is arrived at by looking

12 SATP, ‘Jammu & Kashmir: Assessment - 2020’, op cit.


13 Azaan Javaid, ‘J&K govt changes laws to aid construction of armed forces facilities outside cantonments’, The Print, 17 July,
2020

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at the human rights provisions of the Indian, and Jammu and Kashmir, constitutions and
subsequent jurisprudence, as well as selected international agreements to which India is a
party. The rights violated vary from those conferred under the right to life jurisprudence to
the rights to health, education, work, freedom of expression and privacy. For example:
1-8 Right to habeas corpus, right to live in peace, right to protection against
arbitrary arrest, illegal and/or preventive detention, custodial violence and
injury, right to bail, right to fair and speedy trial, rights of pregnant women
prisoners.
The Constitution of India, Article 21: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal
liberty except according to a procedure established by law. (Applies when a person is
deprived of his life or personal liberty by the state as defined in Article 12). Includes:
Habeas corpus (Maneka Gandhi v Union of India,14 Sunil Batra v Delhi Administration, 15 Francis
Coralie Mullin v Administrator, Union Territory of Delhi and Others 16);
Protection from injury (Kharak Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh 17);
Right against illegal detention (Joginder Kumar v State of Uttar Pradesh, 18 D.K. Basu v State of
West Bengal 19);
Right to bail (Babu Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh20);
Right to speedy trial (Hussainara Khatoon v Home Secretary, State of Bihar, 21 A.R. Antulay v R.S.
Nayak, 22 Anil Rai v State of Bihar, 23 Zahira Habibullah Sheikh v State of Gujarat24).
The Constitution of India, Article 22(4) and 22(5). Protection against arrest and detention
in certain cases: Preventive detention must be no more than three months unless an
Advisory Board comprising High Court judges or their equivalent determines that there
is sufficient cause for extension of the detention period. Detainees should be given the
earliest opportunity of making a representation against the order.

14 AIR 1978 SC 597. In this case, the Court discussed the inter-relationship between Article 14, 19 and 21 and held that
procedures under Article 21 must comply with the principle of reasonableness and meet the challenges of Articles 14 and 19.
15 AIR 1980 SC 1579. In this case, the Court expanded the scope of the habeas corpus writ to address custodial torture and
affirmed that the right to life under Article 21 meant something more than mere animal existence.
16 AIR 1981 SC 746. In this case, the Court reaffirmed the principle that the right to life cannot be restricted to mere animal
existence.
17 AIR 1963 SC 1295. In this case, the question was whether surveillance of the petitioner who was accused of dacoity and
subsequently released for lack of evidence violated his fundamental rights. Held, ‘domiciliary visits’ were violative of the petitioner’s
right to ‘personal liberty’ under Article 21.
18 AIR 1994 SC 1349. In this case, the Court held that no arrest can be made merely on the allegation of the commission of
a crime and without a reasonable satisfaction reached after investigation as to the genuineness of the complaint. The Court also held
that the rights of the arrested person under Articles 21 and 22 must be protected.
19 AIR 1997 SC 610. This case was regarding deaths of detenues in police lock-ups and custody.
20 AIR 1978 SC 527. In this case, the Court discussed the conditions to be satisfied to grant bail.
21 AIR 1979 SC 1369. In this case, the Court observed that the State has a constitutional obligation to provide speedy trial to
the accused
22 AIR 1992 SC 1701. In this case, the Court while holding that the right to speedy trial flows from Article 21 laid down
guidelines for speedy trial.
23 AIR 2001 SC 3173. In this case, the Court reaffirmed that it was the policy and purpose of law to have speedy justice.
24 AIR 2006 SC 1367. In this case, the Court observed that the failure to provide fair hearing violates the minimum standards
of due process of law.

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 (to which India is a party), Article 8:
right to an effective legal remedy; Article 9: protection against arbitrary arrest, detention or
exile; and Article 10: fair and public hearing.
The International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, 1966 (to which India is a
party), specifies pre-trial detention only for narrow purposes such as to “prevent flight,
interference with evidence, or the recurrence of the crime”. The Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention of the UN Human Rights Council (of which India is a member) states that “any
detention must be exceptional and of short duration and a release may be accompanied by
measures intended only to ensure representation of the defendant in judicial proceedings”25.
The UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures
for Women Offenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2010, specifies that non-
custodial means should be preferred for pregnant women during the pre-trial phase
wherever that is possible or appropriate.26
9-17 Protection of children, principle of natural justice and the principle of a
fresh start, arrest only by a special juvenile police unit, detention only in homes
for juveniles, presumption of innocence, non-waiver of rights, right to bail, right
to privacy and confidentiality, aftercare and rehabilitation.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act 2015, (i), (ix), (xi), (xv), (xvi),
Article 3(b), which are based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1992 (to
which India is a party), Articles 38, 39, 40 (1, 2, 3): Principle of natural justice, presumption
of innocence, non-waiver of rights, right to privacy and confidentiality, the Juvenile Justice
Board responsible for ensuring aftercare and rehabilitation;
The Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013,
Article 11(1), The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act 2015, Chapter
IV, Articles 10(1) and 12(1): Arrest (in heinous offences) only by a special juvenile police
unit, production before the Juvenile Justice Board within 24 hours, detention only in homes
for juveniles, right to bail.
Jurisprudence: Sheela Barse v Union of India,27 Munna v State of U.P.,28 Rajeev Kumar v State of

25 Human Rights Council, ‘Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention at its eighty-fifth session’, 12–16 August 2019, Opinion No. 34/2019 concerning Vladimir Alushkin (Russian Federation),
A/HRC/WGAD/2019/34, 20 September 2019,para 59, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Detention/Opinions/Session85/A_
HRC_WGAD_2019_34%20ADVANCEEDITEDVERSION.pdf
26 Resolution 2010/16, United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women
Offenders (the Bangkok Rules), https://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/docs/2010/res%202010-16.pdf
27 AIR 1989 SC 1278. In this case, the Court held that children should not be made to stay in Observation Homes for too long
and as long as they were there, they should be kept occupied.
28 AIR 1982 SC 806. In this case, the Court held that even if the youths were found guilty, they should not be maltreated. It also
noted that they do not shed their fundamental rights when they enter jail.

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U.P. & Ors.,29 Vinod Solanki v Union of India,30 Vikram Deo Singh Tomar vs. State of Bihar,31 Salil
Bali v Union of India,32 Tanvi Ahuja v State of J&K and others.33
18-22 Right to free education for ages 6-14, right to free education up to university
level, protection against mental harassment, making the child free of fear,
trauma and anxiety and helping the child to express views freely, protection
of the rights of the child by the National Commission for Protection of
Child Rights.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009: the right to free
education for ages 6-14: (Mohini Jain v State of Karnataka, 34 Unni Krishnan J.P. v State of Andhra
Pradesh, 35 Avinash Mehrotra v Union of India, 36 Bachpan Bachao Andolan v Union of India 37);
The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, Part IV: Directive Principles of State Policy,
Articles 20(a-c), 21(b) and 23: the right to free education up to university level with
equal opportunity.
The Constitution of India, Articles 21A and 45, and the Right of Children to Free and
Compulsory Education Act 2009, Sections 3(1), 17(1): making the child free of fear,
trauma and anxiety and helping the child to express views freely, protection of the rights of
the child by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights;
Disciplinary action against contraveners of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory
Education Act 2009, Sections 17(1), 17(2)), 29(g), 31 (1,2,3).

29 2019 (2) SCT 697(Allahabad). In this case, the Court held that the right to privacy and confidentiality of a juvenile is
required to be protected by all means and through all the stages of the proceedings, and this is one of the reasons why the identity of a
juvenile in conflict with law is not disclosed.
30 (2008) 16 SCC 537. In this case, the Court reiterated the well-settled principle that presumption of innocence as contained
in Article 14(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a human right.
31 1988 AIR 1782. In this case, the Court held that it is incumbent upon the State when assigning women and children to these
establishments, euphemistically described as ‘Care Homes’, to provide at least the minimum conditions ensuring human dignity.
32 AIR 2013 SC 3743. In this case, the Court held that the essence of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children)
Act, 2000, and the 2007 Rules is restorative and not retributive, and is aimed at providing for the rehabilitation and reintegration of
children in conflict with law into mainstream society.
33 W/PIL no.9/2015. In this case, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court held that the J&K JJ Act 2013 and Rules 2014 had not
been implemented on the ground, and ordered that the Juvenile Justice Board, which had not been constituted in the two years since
the enactment of the legislation, be established. However, it was only in 2018 that the State established Juvenile Justice Boards, Child
Welfare Committees, Juvenile Police Units, and District Child Protection Units.
34 AIR 1992 SC1858. In this case, the Court held that the “right to education”, therefore, is concomitant to the fundamental
rights enshrined under Part III of the Constitution. The State is under a constitutional-mandate to provide educational institutions at
all levels for the benefit of the citizens.
35 AIR 1993 SC 2178. In this case, the Court ruled that Article 45 in Part IV has to be read in ‘harmonious construction’ with
Article 21 in Part III of the Constitution, as Right to Life loses its significance without education.
36 (2009)6 SC C398. In this case, the Court held that the Constitution directs both burdens to achieve one end: the compulsory
education of children, free from the fetters of cost, parental obstruction, or State inaction.
37 AIR 2011 SC 3361. In this case, the Court mentioned that the right of children to free and compulsory education had been
made a fundamental right under Article 21A of the Constitution and that now, every child between the ages of 6 to 14 years has right
to have free education in the neighbourhood school till elementary education.

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23-25 Right to health and medical care, right of children to a happy childhood
with adequate medical care and attention, protection of the health and strength
of workers.
The Constitution of India, Article 21: Right to life includes right to health and right to medical
care: Kharak Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh,38 Sunil Batra v Delhi Administration,39 State of Punjab
v M.S. Chawla,40 Vincent v Union of India,41 Consumer Education and Research Centre v Union of
India,42 Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity v State of West Bengal,43 Pravat Kumar Mukherjee v
Ruby General Hospital & Others.44
The Constitution of India, Article 47: Directive Principle of State Policy on the improvement
of public health as one of the primary duties of the state;
Articles 39(e) and (f), 41, 42: Protection of the health and strength of workers
The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, Article 21(a): The State shall strive to secure to
all children the right to happy childhood with adequate medical care and attention; Article
24: Duty of the State to improve public health.
26-27 Right to freedom of speech and expression, right to peaceful assembly.
The Constitution of India, Article 19(1): All citizens shall have the right, (a) to freedom
of speech and expression; and (b) to assemble peaceably and without arms. Article 19(2):
any restriction on speech must have a proximate connection with a specific head set out in
the article and must show a real and imminent risk of harm arising from the speech and
not vague speculation about possible future harms: Chintaman Rao and Others v The State of
Madhya Pradesh,45 Sakal Papers (P) Ltd., and Others v Union of India,46 Shreya Singhal v Union of
India,47 Subramanian Swamy v Union of India.48

38 See fn 9.
39 See fn 7.
40 AIR 1997 SC 1225. In this case, the Court in holding that the Government was required to reimburse the Government
employee for the medical treatment availed by him, observed that the right to health is integral to the right to life.
41 AIR 1987 SC 990. In this case, the situation was regarding a petition to ban the import, manufacture, sale and distribution
of certain drugs. The Court held that the State under Article 47 had an obligation to enforce the production of qualitative drugs at
reasonable price and also the elimination of harmful drugs.
42 AIR 1995 SC 922. In this case, the Court observed that the right to health and medical care of a worker is an integral facet of
the meaningful right to life under Article 21.
43 AIR 1996 SC 2426. The Court held that the State’s failure to provide timely medical treatment to persons in need would
amount to a violation of Article 21.
44 2005(2) C.P.C.1. In the case, the Court noted that established principles of medical jurisprudence require providing
treatment until “the last breath,” and sometimes even beyond with resuscitation. The Court excerpted The Code of Medical Ethics,
which crystallized the duty of doctors, including practicing with skill and not withdrawing treatment from a patient without proper
notice to the patient and his family.
45 AIR 1951 SC 118. In this case, the Court observed that the restriction must have a reasonable relation to the object which it
seeks to achieve
46 AIR 1962 SC 305. In this case, the Court observed that the State cannot restrict one freedom even for the better enjoyment
of another freedom.
47 AIR 2015 SC 1523. This case was regarding the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the Information Technology
Act, 2000 and whether the provisions violated the freedom of speech and expression. The Court held that mere fear of serious injury
in the absence of reasonable ground to believe that injury is imminent cannot justify the suppression of free speech and assembly.
48 AIR 2016 SC 2728. This case was regarding the constitutional validity of Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code
(criminal defamation) and whether such provisions have a ‘chilling effect’ on the freedom of speech. The Court reaffirmed the
principle that restrictions should not be excessive and that reasonableness would have to be adjudged based on the ultimate ‘impact’
on the right in question.

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Article 19: right to freedom of opinion
and expression, including freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek,
receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers;
Article 20(1): right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
28-29 Right to work, right to livelihood.
The Constitution of India, Article 19(4(g)): the right to practise any profession, or to carry on
any occupation, trade or business;
Article 41: The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development
make effective provision for securing the right to work. State of Maharashtra v Shobha Vitthal
Kolte and Ors,49 Air India Statutory Corporation v United Labour Union & Ors,50 M/S Zee Telefilms
Ltd. & Anr v Union of India & Ors,51 Samir Bhattacharya And Ors. v The State of West Bengal And
Ors,52 Rishi Kumar v State Of U.P. And Ors53;
Article 21: the right to life includes the right to livelihood. Delhi Development Horticulture
Employees’ Union v Delhi Administration, Delhi and Ors54;
Article 39(a): the right to an adequate means of livelihood, the right not to be deprived of a
livelihood. Olga Tellis v Bombay Municipal Corporation.55
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Article 23(1): the right to work, to free
choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against
unemployment; and Article 23(3): the right to just and favourable remuneration.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966, Article 1(2):
All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources
without prejudice. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence);
and Article 6(1): the right to work includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain
his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts.

49 AIR 2006 Bom 44. In this case, the Court held that right to work as fundamental right could be considered fundamental
right in those cases where there was legislative guarantee.
50 AIR 1997 SC 645. In this case, the Court observed that due to economic constraints, though right to work was not declared
as a fundamental right, the right to work of workman, lower class, middle class and poor people is a means to development and source
to earn livelihood.
51 AIR 2005 SC 2677. In this case, the Court observed that right to work, although is not a fundamental right but a right to
livelihood, is within the terms of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
52 1992 (1) CLJ 494.In this case, the Court drew light from a previous judgment that the right to life includes right to livelihood
and observed that the right to livelihood therefore cannot hang on to the fancies of individuals in authority. The employment, the
Court said, is not a bounty from them nor can its survival be at their mercy. Income is the foundation of many fundamental rights
and when work is the sole source of income the right to work becomes as much fundamental. Fundamental rights can ill-afford to be
consigned to the limbo of undefined premises and uncertain applications. That will be a mockery of them.
53 2003 3 AWC 1770All. In this case, the Court reiterated that instrumentality of the State should ensure the service security to
its employees and that there should be an end to arbitrary termination of services of such employees. It further observed that Articles
14 and 21 of the Constitution of India conferred upon a citizen the right to work and dignity of person with means of livelihood.
54 AIR 1992 SC 789. In this case, the Court observed that there is no doubt that broadly interpreted and as a necessary logical
corollary, the right to life would include the right to livelihood and, therefore, right to work.
55 AIR 1986 SC 180.In this case, the Court stated that the right to live and the right to work are integrated and inter-dependant
and, therefore, if a person is deprived of his job as a result of his eviction from a slum or a pavement, his very right to life is put in
jeopardy.

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30-33 Freedom of the press, right to know, right to publish, freedom of circulation
The Constitution of India, Article 21: the freedom of expression includes the freedom of
the press: Romesh Thapar v State of Madras, 56 Indian Express Newspapers v Union of India, 57
Sakal Papers v Union of India 58;
The right to know: Reliance Petrochemicals. Ltd. v Proprietors Indian Express Newspapers,59
Bombay Pvt. Ltd, Essar Oil Ltd. VHalar Utkarsh Samit.60
To our great sorrow, the dozens of public interest petitions challenging these human rights
violations and denials have not received the prompt judicial attention or judicial remedies
that they should have. As a resident of Kashmir commented, “the silence of the judiciary
on this issue has seriously created a huge void of trust in Jammu and Kashmir” (response
to the Forum’s questionnaire). The failure of the judiciary to address these human rights
issues have left an indelible and distressing mark in India.

56 AIR 1950 SC 124. In this case, the Court observed that ‘where a law purports to authorise the imposition of restrictions on
a fundamental right in language wide enough to cover restrictions both within and without the limits of constitutionally permissible
legislative action affecting such right, it is not possible to uphold it even so far as if may be applied within the constitutional limits,
as it is not severable. So long as the possibility of its being applied for purposes not sanctioned by the Constitution cannot be ruled
out, it must be held to be wholly unconstitutional and void. In other words, clause (2) of article 19 having allowed the imposition
of restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression only in cases where danger to the State is involved, an enactment, which is
capable of being applied to cases where no such danger could arise, cannot be held to be constitutional and valid to any extent.’
57 AIR 1986 SC 515.In this case, the Court observed that in today’s free world, freedom of press is the heart of social and
political intercourse.
58 AIR 1962 SC 305. The Court has reiterated that the Indian Constitution does not expressly provide for the freedom of press
but it has been held by this Court that this freedom is included in “freedom of speech and expression” guaranteed by clause (1) (a) of
Article 19. The same was also observed in Brij Bhushan v The State of Delhi, AIR 1950 SC 129.
59 AIR 1989 SC 190. In this case, the Court observed that the people at large have a right to know in order to be able to take
part in a participatory development in the industrial life and democracy. The Right to Know is a basic right which citizens of a free
country aspire in the broader horizon of the right to live in this age in our land under Article 21 of our Constitution.
60 AIR 2004 SC 1834. In this case, the Court observed that the citizens who have been made responsible to protect the
environment have a right to know and that there is a strong link between Article 21 and the right to know particularly where “secret
Government decisions may affect health, life and livelihood”. It further observed that the role of voluntary organisations as protective
watch-dogs to see that there is no unrestrained and unregulated development cannot be over-emphasized.

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IMPACT ON CIVILIAN SECURITY

S ince August 4, 2019, the security lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir has been accompanied
by widespread violation of the security of persons, property and dissent, including
lax observance of SOPs and protocols designed to protect human rights, while pursuing
counter-insurgency. The period between August 2019 and July 2020 was marked by mass
detention of politicians, activists and children, imposition of Section 144 and ban on all
gatherings for civilian deaths, including of children, destruction of schools and houses
during insurgency/counter-insurgency measures, and use of draconian laws against media
and/or activists.

1 Mass detention of politicians and activists


According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), 6,605 people, including “miscreants,
stone-pelters, over ground workers (OGWs), separatists”, were taken into preventive
custody after August 4, 2019, 444 of them under Jammu and Kashmir’s Public Safety Act
(PSA) of 1978. All the state’s leading political representatives, including three former
Chief Ministers – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti – were amongst
those detained, as were at least 144 minors. A majority of detainees were released, one by
one, over the next six months, but over 400 people still remain in preventive custody. In
March 2020, 437 people continued to be detained, 389 of them under the PSA. 61 As these
figures show, less than a quarter of those detained under the PSA between August 2019 and
March 2020 were released. Moreover, political detainees were not allowed visits by their
families and/or colleagues for several months.
The justifications provided for political detentions were flimsy in the extreme. For example,
the dossier against Ali Mohammad Sagar, General Secretary of the National Conference
and four times MLA from Khanyar in Srinagar, stated: “You are a known political figure
in Srinagar and enjoy popularity… Your capacity can be gauged from this fact that
you were able to convince your electorates to come out and vote in huge numbers even
during the peak of the militancy and poll boycotts… You reportedly impressed upon your
party workers… that (the) youth of Khanyar constituency be informed to be ready for mass
agitation in case Article 370 was revoked.”62 Despite these clearly unjustifiable reasons,
the detention of Mr. Sagar was quashed only in June 2020 by the Jammu and Kashmir

61 Ananya Bhardwaj, ‘389 People Detained In J&K Under Public Safety Act Since Article 370 Was Scrapped’, The Print, 5
February, 2020, Https://Theprint.In/India/389-People-Detained-In-Jk-Under-Public-Safety-Act-Since-Article-370-Was-Scrapped-
Govt/360243/.
62 Mudasir Ahmed, ‘J&K Leader’s Ability to Convince People to Vote During Boycotts Cited as Reason for PSA Charge’, The
Wire, February 8, 2020, https://thewire.in/rights/ali-mohammed-sagar-jk-psa-2.

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High Court.63 Congress leader and former Union Cabinet Minister Saifuddin Soz continues
to remain in detention; the Supreme Court has deferred hearing of his petition until
July 2020.
The PSA, which allows for detention without trial for up to 2 years, has been widely
criticized by human rights activists for decades. In 2006, the Prime Minister’s working group
on human rights in Jammu and Kashmir, led by Hamid Ansari (later Vice-President of
India), recommended review of the PSA. In October 2011, the Group of Interlocutors for
Jammu and Kashmir recommended either revoking the PSA altogether or amending it to
allow for no more than three months’ detention.64 The recommendation was not acted upon.
In May 2020, a division bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court rejected the bail
plea of Mian Abdul Qayoom, President of the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, citing
confidential reports submitted by the Jammu and Kashmir Advocate-General under
Section 13(2) of the PSA, which allows the authority to withhold facts considered to be
against the public interest. The court said the reports showed that Qayoom had not
given up his ‘secessionist ideology’ and recommended, bizarrely, that he write to the Union
Home Ministry to do so. 65 His petition is currently being heard by the Supreme Court.
On June 9, 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir police filed an ‘open FIR’ against social media
critics of the May High Court judgement rejecting Qayoom’s bail plea.66

2 Illegal detention of children


Despite initial denials of the detention of children, the Union and Jammu and Kashmir
administrations finally admitted in the Supreme Court that 144 children had been detained
in August-September 2019.67 The youngest was 9 years old. According to a report prepared
by the Additional Director General of Police, Srinagar, submitted to the Juvenile Justice
Committee which comprised four judges of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, 75 of
the 144 children were arrested under the PSA.68 Nine others were arrested under Section
107, Chapter VIII of the CrPC and some of them were kept in observation homes. Both

63 ‘J&K HC quashes PSA detention of NC leader Sagar’, Hindustan Times, June 16, 2020.
64 Group of Interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir, ‘Final Report: A New Compact with the People of Jammu and Kashmir’,
October 2011, https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/J%26K-InterlocatorsRpt-0512.pdf
65 Apoorva Mandhani, ‘J&K HC rejects plea of Kashmir bar chief ’s release, asks him to shun ‘secessionist’ ideology, The
Print, May 28, 2020, https://theprint.in/judiciary/jk-hc-rejects-plea-of-kashmir-bar-chiefs-release-asks-him-to-shun-secessionist-
ideology/431415/.
66 Naseer Ganai, ‘J-K Police Start Summoning People After Open FIR Against Criticising High Court Judgment’, Outlook
magazine, June 9, 2020, https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-j-k-police-starts-summoning-people-after-open-
fir-against-criticising-high-court-judgment/354434#:~:text=Jammu%20and%20Kashmir%20Police%20have,Mian%20Qayoom%20
on%20ideological%20grounds.
67 Livelaw News Network14, ‘Illegal Detention Of Children In Kashmir: Two Child Right Experts Move SC, Seek
Urgent Intervention Of Court’ [Read Petition] https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/illegal-detention-of-children-kashmir--
148066?infinitescroll=1,https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/illegal-detention-of-children-kashmir--148066?infinitescroll=1,https://
www.indiatoday.in/india/story/children-among-minors-detained-kashmir-article-370-abrogation-reports-1605322-2019-10-01. Also
see Supreme Court of India, Writ Petition (C) No.1166/2019,https://indiankanoon.org/doc/193384604/,https://www.livelaw.in/top-
stories/kashmir-sc-to-consider-plea-against-alleged-illegal-detention-of-juveniles-on-december-13-150617?infinitescroll=1.
68 Anjana Prakash, ‘Jammu and Kashmir Police Has Violated the JJ Act in Detaining Children’, The Wire, https://thewire.in/
rights/jammu-and-kashmir-police-has-violated-the-jj-act-in-detaining-children.

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actions were in violation of the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection
of Children) Act, 2013 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act 2015.
Sadly, the Supreme Court in its oral remarks on December 9, 2019, while hearing a petition
relating to the alleged illegal detention of children in Kashmir, said that petitioners
should not be overly alarmed if children are detained for a few hours or for just a day,
because in certain situations it is for their own good.69 However, in law, illegal detentions
still remain illegal, whatever the quantum of time.
In its final order of December 13, 2019, the Supreme Court directed that children who had
been detained should be provided with mental health support.70 It is unclear whether
this order has been acted upon.
According to the UN Secretary General’s June 2020 report on children in armed conflict,
68 children between the ages of 9 and 17 were detained in Jammu and Kashmir on national
security-related charges, including one for actual or alleged association with armed
groups.71 Again, it is unclear whether this is the number of children remaining in detention
in June 2020.

3 Indiscriminate imposition of Section 144


On August 4, 2019, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was put under lockdown and Section
144 was imposed. The imposition was challenged by a group of petitions in the Supreme
Court, clubbed together as Anuradha Bhasin and Others. The Court delivered its judgement
on January 10, 2020, saying that indiscriminate imposition of Section 144 was unacceptable
and the Jammu and Kashmir government should publish all Section 144 orders.72 Following
the judgement, the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir issued an order that all
impositions of Section 144 should be published.
What publication means is doubtful. We have been able to access only a handful of orders
imposing Section 144, mostly those following the COVID-19 lockdown. Prior orders for
Section 144, i.e. from August 2019 to end March 2020, are not readily available.
However, an examination of the situation prevailing in the state before August 2019 indicates
that most of the Supreme Court’s guidelines as set out in the January judgement were not
followed. For example, according to the court, Section 144 is a preventive mechanism that
enables the state to maintain public peace and it can be invoked in urgent cases of perceived
danger, subject to restrictions. Section 144 cannot be imposed merely because of likelihood
of danger, but only to immediately prevent specific acts that may lead to danger. Indefinite
restrictions under Section 144 are unconstitutional. Orders passed under Section 144 are
executive orders subject to judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution. The Court
69 Anuradha Bhasin v Union of India, AIR 2020 SC 1308.
70 Enakshi Ganguly v Union of India, Writ Petition (civil) no.1166 of 2019, available at: https://indiankanoon.org/
doc/10618046/.
71 United Nations, ‘Report of the Secretary-General, Children and armed conflict’, June 2020, UN A/74/845–S/2020/525,
https://www.un.org/sg/sites/www.un.org.sg/files/atoms/files/15-June-2020_Secretary-General_Report_on_CAAC_Eng.pdf.
72 Anuradha Bhasin v Union of India, op cit.

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noted that “orders passed under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code have direct
consequences upon the fundamental rights of the public in general. Such a power, if used in
a casual and cavalier manner, would result in severe illegality.” [para. 129]
Magistrates must balance the right and restriction against the right and duty, and any
restrictions must be proportionate, i.e. “never allowed to be excessive either in nature or in
time.”[para. 39]
Further, “[o]rders passed mechanically or in a cryptic manner cannot be said to be orders
passed in accordance with law.”[para. 134]
The Court concluded that the power under Section 144 cannot be used to suppress
legitimate expression and should be used only in the presence of material facts justifying
its application.73
In contrast, Section 144 orders were imposed across the then state prior to any legitimate
expression of dissent. As late as October 15, 2019 – two months after the removal of Jammu
and Kashmir’s special status and division and demotion of the state – thirteen women
were arrested for staging a peaceful protest against the August decisions. The arrests were
under Section 107 of the CrPC, for breaching the peace. According to the police, they had
violated Section 144, still in force.74 They were released only 30 hours later, after furnishing
a personal bond of Rs. 10,000 and surety of Rs. 40,000 each, as well as giving an assurance
that they would maintain peace.75
Moreover, after his release from preventive detention on June 23, 2020, People’s Democratic
Party (PDP) leader Naeem Akhtar, told the press that the Jammu and Kashmir administration
had offered him release in August itself, on condition that he signed a similar bond and
refrained from criticising government decisions. A day after he was released, he was
asked to vacate his government accommodation within 5-6 hours.76

4 Civilian deaths and injuries


According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, there have been 37 terrorism-related civilian
deaths in Jammu and Kashmir from August 2019 to July 16, 2020.77 These are provisional
figures based on newspaper reports and may be slightly understated. Government figures
for terrorism-related civilian deaths between August 2019 and April 2020 are 30, and the
Forum’s survey of newspaper reports for May and June found at least nine reported civilian
deaths, including that of a child.78
73 Summarized in Global Freedom of Expression (Columbia University), ‘Anuradha Bhasin v Union of India’, https://
globalfreedomofexpression.columbia.edu/cases/bhasin-v-union-of-india/.
74 Peerzada Ashiq, ‘Farooq’s sister, daughter jailed’ The Hindu, October 15, 2019, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/13-
women-activists-including-sister-and-daughter-of-farooq-abdullah-detained-during-protest/article29689414.ece.
75 Correspondent, ‘Sister, daughter of Farooq Abdullah released after spending 30 hours in prison’, Live Mint, October
17, 2019, https://www.livemint.com/news/india/sister-daughter-of-farooq-abdullah-released-after-spending-30-hours-in-
prison-11571251772999.html.
76 Kashmir Observer Web Desk, ‘Was Asked to Quit Politics for Freedom: Nayeem Akhtar’, Kashmir Observer, June 27,2020,
https://kashmirobserver.net/2020/06/27/asked-to-sign-horribly-worded-bond-ex-minister-spills-detention-beans/.
77 https://www.satp.org/datasheet-terrorist-attack/fatalities/india-jammukashmir.
78 According to the Jammu and Kashmir government affidavit to the 4G petitions in the Supreme Court, 30 civilians died in
armed encounters between August 5, 2019 and April 4, 2020. Reply on Behalf of Respondent No. 1 (Union Territory of Jammu And
Kashmir) In the Matter Of: Foundation for Media Professionals … Petitioner(S) Versus Union Territory Of Jammu And Kashmir
And Anr. …. Respondents, A Civil/Crl/Appellate/Original Jurisdiction Special Leave Petition (Civil/Crl.) No. Of 2020 Civil/Criminal/

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The causes of attack range from alleged ethnic/religious hatred to militant attacks to cross-
border shelling to being caught in army-militant crossfire to disproportionate violence by
policemen at check posts. To take a few recent examples:
On July 9, 2020, the BJP’s district president for Bandipora, Waseem Bari, his father and
brother, were shot by motorcycle borne gunmen. On June 8, 2020, Sarpanch Ajay Pandita of
the Indian National Congress party was assassinated in his orchard in Anantnag. According
to Director-General of the Jammu and Kashmir Police Dilbag Singh, the Hizbul Mujahideen
were involved in the killing. Congress Provincial President, GA Mir, alleged that Pandita
was targeted because he was a member of the Kashmiri Pandit (Hindu) community;
the administration’s failure to provide him security despite repeated requests left him
vulnerable to attack.79 Prior to that, in November 2019, Sarpanch Syed Rafiq Ahmed
and Assistant Agricultural Officer Sheikh Zahoor were wounded in a grenade attack in
Anantnag. Both died in hospital. While Rs.30 lakhs were paid to Zahoor’s family and
Rs.20 lakhs to Pandita’s family, Ahmed’s family asserted that they had not received any
compensation to date.80
On June 14, Pakistan army shelling killed a woman and injured two civilians in Hajipur,
Uri,81 and on June 10, Nayamtullah of Rajdhani village was injured in Pakistani shelling
across the border at Rajouri (Poonch).82
On June 6, Ishfaq Ahmad Najar was shot by alleged terrorists at his residence in Baramulla.
On June 4, health worker Imtiyaz Ahmad of Wanmoh was hit by a bullet after militants
attacked a police party in Yaripora area of Kulgam district.83
On June 3, four Army personnel, including the commanding officer of the Rashtriya Rifles’
21 Battalion, and a sub-inspector of police, were killed while attempting to rescue civilians
held hostage by terrorists in Handwara84
On May 19, five civilians were injured when the army blew up a house in which a group of
militants had taken shelter, in Nawakadal locality of Srinagar; three of them later succumbed
to their injuries.85

Appeal/Writ Petition Diary No. 10817 Of 2020 Review Civil/Criminal/Misc. Petition No. Of 2020, para 16, p.11. The Forum’s figures
also suggest understatement. For example, they give the number of civilian casualties in May 2020 as 1, whereas by our count it is 5.
The Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (KCCS) and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), report 32
civilian deaths for January-June 2020 alone, but their sources are unclear. KCCS and APDP, ‘Six Monthly Review of Human
79 HT Correspondent, ‘Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu protesting killing of a Kashmiri Sarpanch at Anantnag’, Hindustan Times,
June 9, 2020, https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/kashmiri-pandits-take-out-protest-rally-against-killing-of-sarpanch-ajay-
pandita/story-5tZIpo5wYCy3JvcSB1k9gI.html.
80 Kusum Arora and Irfan Lone, ‘Despite Persistent Security Threats, J&K Sarpanchs Say Govt Has Little Concern for Their
Safety’ The Wire, June 19, 2020, https://thewire.in/rights/jk-valley-sarpanch-killed-kashmiri-pandit-security.
81 Hakeem Irfan, ‘Riyaz Naikoo’s encounter, successor and militancy in Kashmir’, The Economic Times, May 13, 2020, https://
economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/riyaz-naikoos-encounter-successor-and-militancy-in-kashmir/articleshow/75715239.
cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst.
82 Sparshita Saxena, ‘Army jawan killed in Pak shelling in J-K’s Rajouri, civilian injured’, Hindustan Times, June 11, 2020,
https://www.hindustantimes
83 Correspondent RK, ‘Militant Attack Forces in Kulgam, Civilian Injured’, Rising Kashmir, June 5, 2020, http://www.
risingkashmir.com/news/militants-attack-forces-in-kulgam-civilian-injured-361944.html.
84 Snehesh Alex Philip, ‘Rashtriya Rifles battalion CO among 5 killed in encounter with terrorists in J&K’s Handwara’, The
Print, June 4, 2020, https://theprint.in/defence/rashtriya-rifles-battalion-co-among-5-killed-in-encounter-with-terrorists-in-jks-
handwara/413442/.
85 Naseer Ganai, ‘Srinagar Gunfight: Third Civilian Succumbs to Injuries, Two Discharged’, Outlook magazine, May 24,
2020, https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-srinagar-gunfight-third-civilian-succumbs-to-injuries-two-
discharged/353431.

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On May 13, 25-year-old Peer Mehrajuddin was shot dead at a checkpoint near Budgam by
troopers of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). According to the CRPF,
Mehrajuddin “broke a checkpoint of J&K [Jammu and Kashmir] police and sped (sic) and
came across another checkpoint of CRPF, and jumped this checkpoint as well”. His uncle,
Ghulam Hassan Shah, an assistant sub-inspector with the Jammu and Kashmir police, who
was in the car, said that a police constable told him to pull over near the town of Budgam
since an army convoy was on its way and the constable let him go after he showed his
police identity card, but gestured to a CRPF trooper ahead, who fired at Mehrajuddin.86
On May 6, 32-year old civilian Jehangir Yousuf Wani of Pulwama succumbed to bullet
injuries following clashes between civilians and armed forces after the killing of Hizbul
Mujahedeen commander Riyaz Naikoo. Reportedly, many civilian protesters received
pellet injuries.87
On June 30, the National Human Rights Commission of India asked the Jammu and Kashmir
administration to provide a list of civilian and child deaths in custody or in crossfire
within 24 hours of a custodial death and 48 hours of a death due to armed encounters.88

4b Child deaths and injuries


On June 21, 2020, a five-year old child was injured in Bijbehara, Anantnag, when militants
opened fire on a CRPF road clearing team. One member of the CRPF was also injured. Both
succumbed to their injuries in hospital.89
He was not the first child to die in the Jammu and Kashmir conflict this year. According
to the UN Secretary-General’s report cited above, over the past ten months the UN has
verified the killing of 8 children and maiming of 7 others (13 boys, 2 girls), between the ages
of 1 and 17, “by or during joint operations of the Central Reserve Police Force, the Indian
Army (Rashtriya Rifles) and the Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police
(10), Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (1), unidentified armed elements (1), or during shelling across
the line of control (3). The casualties that occurred in Jammu and Kashmir were mainly
caused by torture in detention, shootings, including from pellet guns, and cross-border
shelling.”90 The Indian and Kashmiri media have substantiated similar allegations. For
example, The Print documented five cases of minors including a 14-year-old child who
suffered from serious pellet injuries at one of the protests in Srinagar in August 2019.91

86 Shafaq Shah, ‘Kashmir’s Growing List of Forgotten Inquiries’, article 14, June 3, 2020, https://www.article-14.com/post/
kashmir-s-growing-list-of-forgotten-inquiries.
87 Kashmir News Trust, ‘Civilian killed in clashes yesterday laid to rest in Pulwama’, May 7, 2020, https://kashmirpulse.com/jk/
kashmir/civilian-killed-in-clashes-yesterday-laid-to-rest-in-pulwama/41879.html
88 National Human Rights Commission, ‘NHRC to UTs of J&K and Ladakh: Send intimation of custodial and encounter
deaths in 24 hours and 48 hours respectively as per its guidelines to all States and UTs’, https://nhrc.nic.in/media/press-release/nhrc-
uts-jk-and-ladakh-send-intimation-custodial-and-encounter-deaths-24-hours
89 HT Correspondent, ‘CRPF trooper, 5-year-old killed in terrorist attack in J-K’s Bijbehara’, The Hindustan Times, June
26, 2020, https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/crpf-personnel-child-killed-in-terrorist-attack-in-jammu-and-kashmir-s-
anantnag/story-3OTvxdwGU5DmXr1dvkeiWN.html
90 United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General Children and armed conflict, June 2020, op cit.
91 Ananya Bhardwaj, ‘Kashmir authorities say no pellet injuries, but here are 5 victims’, The Print, August 13, 2019, https://
theprint.in/india/kashmir-authorities-say-no-pellet-injuries-but-here-are-5-victims/276023/

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According to the Forum’s analysis of news reports, the bulk of child and civilian casualties
in 2020 were caused by crossfire between militants and security forces, both in armed
group attacks on security forces and in Cordon and Search Operations (CASO), followed by
militant assassinations and cross-border shelling from Pakistan.92
Apart from physical trauma, children caught in crossfire have experienced grave mental
trauma. Few people can forget the recent image of a three-year-old child trying to
revive his dead grandfather, shot in crossfire during a militant attack on a CRPF patrol in
Sopore on July 1, 2020. While the CRPF did well to rescue the boy and speedily restore him
to his family, the fact that they tweeted pictures of their rescue invaded the child’s privacy
and led to a propaganda war in which the child has become a victim. 93
Attacks on schools have added to children’s trauma. According to the UN Report of the
Secretary-General on children and armed conflict cited above (see footnote 13), the UN
has verified attacks on nine schools in Jammu and Kashmir by ‘unidentified elements’
since August 2019.

5 Destruction of houses in counter-insurgency


Cordon and Search Operations (CASO), which the army had progressively limited after
2001, have increased since 2018 when, reportedly, the army decided to broaden their
use94 and include the use of explosives to destroy houses where militants shelter. Standard
Operating Procedures (SOPs) for counter-insurgency operations, which had also been
tightened following the continuing decline in violence up to 2013, seem also to have
been relaxed to permit, for example, the alleged deployment of civilians as human shields
in Awantipura (see para 3 below), as happened in 2017.95 Rare as such incidents are,
the allegations are extremely grave and should be investigated.
On May 19, 2020, during a cordon and search operation in Nawakadal Srinagar, over a
dozen houses were severely damaged in the ensuing gunfight between Hizbul Mujahedeen
militants and the army. While the District Commissioner stated that compensation would
be given after assessment, the amounts have not been announced yet. In the interim, the
local mosque put up a relief collection.96
Between May 4 and 6, in a 42-hour gun battle in Awantipura, during which Hizbul
Mujahedeen commander Riyaz Naikoo was killed, eighteen houses were damaged

92 The KCCS-APDP report cited above suggests the same: see the tables of casualties (pp.6-10).
93 Anuradha Bhasin, ‘What Images Tell and What They Don’t’, The Moving Finger Writes, 2 July, 2020, http://
themovingfingerin.wordpress.com/2020/07/02/what-images-tell-and-what-they-dont/
94 PTI, ‘Army brings back CASO as part of counter-terror operations in Kashmir’, India Today, May 11, 2017, https://
economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/army-brings-back-caso-as-part-of-counter-terror-operations-in-kashmir/
articleshow/58632117.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst. The Wire Staff, ‘Indian Army
Accused of Using Civilian as Human Shield in Kashmir Patrol’
95 The Wire Staff, ‘Indian Army Accused of Using Civilian as Human Shield in Kashmir Patrol’, The Wire, April 14, 2017,
https://thewire.in/rights/allegation-army-using-human-shields-kashmir-patrol.
96 Ashiq Hussain, ‘Srinagar gunfight: As 21 families go homeless, Kashmiris call for donations to rebuild their houses’, The
Hindustan Times, May 21, 2020, https://www.hindustantimes.com/chandigarh/srinagar-gunfight-as-21-families-go-homeless-
kashmiris-call-for-donations-to-rebuild-their-houses/story-SB6xOqQx1SFjYGWYyF2xPI.html.

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by explosives used by the army, three of them razed to the ground. It was alleged that
security forces used local youth to set the explosives and to lead the way into houses where
militants were suspected to be hiding.97

6 Use of draconian laws against media and/or activists


On June 29, 2020, Kashmiri NRI businessman Mubeen Shah was charged with sedition
because he had called for a boycott of non-Kashmiris seeking to acquire land with the
new domicile certificates issued by the government.98 Shah had been put under preventive
detention on August 7, 2019 and ‘temporarily released’ for three months on December 7,
under section 20(2) of the PSA, which allows the government to release a person at any
time for any specified period either without conditions or upon such conditions as that
person accepts and may at any time cancel his release. On December 9, the PSA against him
was ‘permanently revoked’. Chauvinist as his post was, it hardly qualified as sedition.
On April 21, the same cyber police cell booked journalist and writer Gowher Geelani under
Section 13 of the UAPA and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code, with similar charges of
‘indulging in unlawful activities through social media posts’. 99
On April 18, the Jammu and Kashmir cyber police booked Kashmiri photojournalist
Masrat Zahra under Section 13 of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)
and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code for posting “anti-national” content on social
media. The alleged content that she posted were photographs she had taken for a story
back in December 2019. In it, she talks about Arifa Jan, whose husband was allegedly killed
by the Indian Army in 2000. “Arifa Jan suffers frequent panic attacks nearly 2 decades after
her husband was gunned down by Indian army in 2000, she can still hear the gunshots
and sees her husband’s blood-soaked body when she thinks of him,”100 Telling such a
story through photographs has not been classified as an unlawful activity and any attempt
to do so would clearly violate the freedom of the media.
Originally intended to target organizations supportive of terrorist activities, the 1967
UAPA was amended in August 2019 – around the same time as Kashmir’s special status
was abolished and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act was passed – to include
prosecution of individuals.101 The amendment was challenged in the Supreme Court, but
the hearings are yet to conclude. In the meantime, a large number of students and human
rights activists have been charged under it, including pregnant Kashmiri student Safoora
Zargar, who was active in student protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (also

97 Hakeem Irfan, ‘Riyaz Naikoo Encounter Success and Militancy in Kashmir, The Economic Times, May 13, 2020, https://
economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/riyaz-naikoos-encounter-successor-and-militancy-in-kashmir/articleshow/75715239.
cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst.
98 Observer News Service, ‘Businessman Mubeen Shah Booked for Sedition’, Kashmir Observer, June 29,2020, https://
kashmirobserver.net/2020/06/29/businessman-mubeen-shah-booked-for-sedition/.
99 Naseer Ganai, ‘Kashmiri Author and Journalist Gowhar Geelani, Booked Under UAPA, Moves HC’, Outlook magazine,
April 24, 2020, https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-kashmiri-author-and-journalist-gowhar-geelani-booked-
under-uapa-moves-hc/351368.
100 Mudasir Ahmed, ‘Kashmiri Photojournalist Charged Under UAPA for Unspecified Social Media Posts’, The Wire, April 20,
2020, https://thewire.in/media/kashmiri-photojournalist-charged-under-uapa-for-unspecified-social-media-posts.
101 The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019, No. 28 Of 2019, http://egazette.nic.in/
WriteReadData/2019/210355.pdf.

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under challenge in the Supreme Court) at the Jamia Millia Islamia University and was
arrested and charged under the amended UAPA on April 10, 2020.
The Editors’ Guild, Network of Women in Media in India, and Press Club of India, and of
Kashmir all asked that the charges against Zahra and Geelani be dropped. Zargar’s bail
plea was rejected by the lower court on June 5, 2020.102 On June 19, 2020, she was granted
bail on humanitarian grounds by the Delhi High Court.103
While no charges were lodged against him, journalist Ashiq Peerzada of The Hindu was
subjected to 12 hours of questioning by the Jammu and Kashmir police over filing what
they claimed was ‘fake news’. The article in question quoted a family member of a dead
militant who had been buried by security forces, saying they had been given permission
to exhume their relative’s body. The district administration did not respond to Peerzada’s
fact-checking query, which too was mentioned in the article.104

102 Seemi Pasha, ‘Safoora Zargar Denied Bail as Judge Finds Prima Facie Evidence of ‘Conspiracy’’, The Wire, June 5, 2020,
https://thewire.in/law/safoora-zargar-denied-bail.
103 Arvind Gunasekar and Saurabh Shukla, ‘Pregnant Jamia Student Safoora Zargar Gets Bail in Delhi Riots Case’, NDTV, June
23, 2020. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/safoora-zargar-pregnant-jamia-miliia-islamia-student-arrested-in-april-in-delhi-riots-
case-granted-bail-by-high-court-2250814#:~:text=New%20Delhi%3A,objection%20on%20%22humanitarian%20grounds%22.
104 Special Correspondent, ‘J&K police file FIR on The Hindu report’, The Hindu, April 20, 2020 https://www.thehindu.com/
news/national/jk-police-file-fir-on-the-hindu-report/article31391183.ece.

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IMPACT ON CHILDREN AND YOUTH

R esponses to the Forum’s questionnaires show that the lockdowns from August 2019,
lack of connectivity, presence of police and armed forces, all combined have impacted
adversely on children of all age groups in many ways. Between August 2019 and March
2020, the number of days that schools which were open came to a mere two weeks. Even
when the Jammu and Kashmir administration allowed schools to reopen, two months after
the August lockdown, many parents were not willing to send their children to school as
they felt it was unsafe, and with the closure of mobile telephony they would not be able to
contact them if needed.
After the COVID-related lockdown (March 24, 2020 till date), when schools and universities
moved to online classes, the 2G facility made the classes a charade, since online group sessions
require 4G and even downloading assignments or papers is extremely difficult without 4G.
In an online survey by Child Relief and You, the findings revealed that school-going children
could access online classes on a regular basis in only 27.62 percent of households in Jammu
and Kashmir, as against the national average of 41 percent.105
A teacher commented, “As a consequence of the abrogation of Article 370, Kashmiri students
had to remain away from school for a period of 8 whole months. Now, as these students
were ready to go back to school and resume education, the (COVID) outbreak pushed
them inside their homes once again, that too with just 2G internet. To battle this prolonged
shut-down, while the teacher’s community, along the lines of the world, is trying to conduct
classes online… It is a major task’.106
1 Lack of connectivity – impact on children’s behaviour
According to one parent, children felt “mentally drained” and 12- to 15-year-olds, especially,
have become “less tolerant and aggressive” (mother, Srinagar). A legal and development
practitioner added that children as young as 10 years old had started to ask questions
“beyond their age after August 2019”, and that too “in a challenging tone”. The questions,
he said, were about issues connected to lockdowns, curfews, troops’ deployment and the
religion of armed forces. Children also became aggressive due to “desperation at not being
able to access the internet”; denying them access, he concluded, was tantamount to “denying
them the right to life in the present digital world”. (Questionnaire response).

105 Child Relief and You (CRY), Rapid Online Perception Study About the Effects Of Covid-19 On Children (May 2020), p.15,
https://www.cry.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Report-CRY_COVID-19-Study.pdf
106 Voices from Kashmir: Narratives that lost connection (initiative by internetshutdowns.in), 27 January, 2020, https://sflc.in/
using-2g-fight-pandemic-digital-world

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The continuous ten months of lockdowns, said a PhD student, had led children and
adolescents to “feel very sad, lonely and isolated because of restrictions and continuous
hearing of sad stories. The parental control has also increased over children. The frequent
restrictions and lockdowns have been one of the main reasons for children experiencing
psycho-social issues to overcome, both in terms of hampered access to health services and
getting exposed to recurrent traumatic situations (even just hearing about adverse events
constitutes trauma and may affect children adversely)”. (Questionnaire response, Kulgam)
2 Parental anxiety
Parental anxiety is an added burden: “There is a tremendous pressure on children, especially
adolescents, to not go out. I am aware of a few cases where young people were picked
up in 2016 suddenly while they were walking on the national highway passing through
our village. Such situations create a sense of fear among parents, resulting in pressures on
children to stay inside… Even the adults are not feeling safe to take walks.” (Questionnaire
response). “Obviously”, stated another respondent, “children and particularly youth
were made to stay at home as police and army were apprehending and detaining them.
Then many of them particularly their parents were made to pay hefty amounts for their
release, if that was not possible then they were booked under different acts.” (Questionnaire
response writer/activist/researcher Srinagar).
According to parents and educationists, no parent feels secure about her children, whatever
the age group. “Parents will not send their wards to school because of communication
issues, the atmosphere prevalent (and the) lack of civic facilities that can make children
easy victims of Covid 19.” (Questionnaire response, group of 7 parents and educationists).
An assistant professor added, “Parental anxiety would affect children because children
will always look up to their parents and largely display similar kinds of behavioural
patterns.” (Questionnaire response, Jammu).
Given the situation, concluded a respondent, “even if the situation improves and the
lockdown is relaxed, unless communication is not restored fully, no parent will be willing
to send kids to school.” (Questionnaire response, Srinagar).
Many parents were stressed that they could not contact their children studying outside
Kashmir due to lack of internet and mobile telephony.
3 Connectivity in the context of armed encounters
Shutdowns during armed encounters, which are frequent in the valley, add to child and
parental trauma and further disrupt education. “Every time an encounter takes place, the
internet is shut down for 2 to 3 days in that particular district and also the district where
the dead militants hail from. So, the shutdowns depend on the frequency of encounters…
But the more dreadful thing is during certain encounters in which high profile militants are
killed or civilians get killed, the whole mobile communication is blocked in the valley as
happened during Naikoo and Sehrai’s encounter in May for several days.” (Questionnaire
response, lecturer, Kulgam).

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According to a PhD student, the “intermittent complete shutdown of internet services


has created unpredictability whether we will have internet services in the next hour or day
or week is uncertain here. The internet is shut down in a district or two during an encounter
and this happens a couple of times in a month. For instance, the government-imposed
communication blockade on 6th May 2020 after an encounter took place in Pulwama
district, suspending both voice calling and internet services from 6th to 9th May in Kulgam
district. In Pulwama, the suspension of internet services and voice calling continued for a
day or two more. Again, government suspended internet services on 30th May in Kulgam
district.” (Questionnaire response). Srinagar was similarly shut down for 5 consecutive days
in May, when a counter-insurgency operation was launched in the Nawa Kadal area of
the old city. Given that there were daily CASOs during the month of June, most of them
concentrated in south Kashmir, there were clearly very few online classes in the districts of
Pulwama, Shopian and Anantnag.
4 Children’s education
Even high-end private schools like the DPS Athwajan have struggled with online classes,
according to a student who attends the online classes regularly, although “they have to be
cancelled every now and then because of internet snaps. It gets disrupted all of a sudden
and never gets reconnected.” (Questionnaire response, Srinagar)
A majority of children are, moreover, dependent on their parents’ mobile phones for online
classes. Parents with children in different classes found it difficult to spare their mobiles
to each of them and were under pressure because the family needed more than one high
end phone. They also had to buy data and attend to their own calls, which became
unaffordable. Tutorials have also become difficult for parents to handle or explain
presentations to kids. Even children over 6 years of age often hesitate to ask their parents
for their phones once they come back from work.
There have been attempts at live classes, tutorials and assignments. But the low speed acts
as a spoiler for all the effort both in government schools and private schools (indeed, on
July 15, 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court voiced frustration at the impossibility
of conducting even the “bare semblance of a hearing” on account of poor internet connectivity
issues.107 Schools and teachers have had to struggle to find usable applications through
which to run online classes. ZOOM, for example, which is being used all over the country
for online classes, could not be run on 2G. Sameena, a Class 9 student, from Srinagar’s
Nowgam, said, “The grainy video, the frequent drop calls, the background noises, the poor
sound quality, and the unreadable words on the board get on your nerves, and make the
entire learning process a pestering experience.” Bitterness runs deep for many. As a class
12 student, Sadaf Mirza, commented, “… the current regime wants Kashmiris to beg for
107 Meera Emmanuel, ‘Impossible to have “even a bare semblance of a hearing”, Jammu & Kashmir HC summons Home Secy
over poor Internet, e-connectivity of courts’, Bar and Bench, https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/jk-hc-summons-home-
secretary-over-poor-internet-e-connectivity-of-courts.

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everything… It’s clear that they want to send out a message that beggars can’t be choosers.”108
5 Awareness of COVID lockdown and closure of schools
Most respondents stated that they were aware of the lockdown and closure of schools.
They were aware that the government uploaded directions on safety during lockdown but
these instructions were not publicised enough. Information was by word of mouth from
child to child who went to nearby government schools. Some heard about classes on the
DD Channel, and also online classes run by the government.
According to the local government in Srinagar, they set up centres with internet access to
help students seeking to register for exams and 100,000 students used them. But media
reports suggested that for most Kashmiris, the nearest place for broadband internet was
the town of Banihal in Jammu province bordering the valley, which became accessible only
in November 2019 when train services resumed. “It was Yakoob’s second trip in as many
days. The day before, the Internet wasn’t working even in Banihal. She had attempted to
access the Internet at the district headquarters near her home – where four computers are
available for a population of 1 million people – but the lines were too long. Yaqoob and
her mother waited for three hours outside an Internet cafe before their turn came. The
teenager was submitting a form for a competitive exam for which she had been studying for
two years, and the deadline was fast approaching. When she finally submitted the form, she
burst into tears of relief.”109
6 Impact on teachers
Every teacher who responded to the Forum’s questionnaires repeatedly complained that
their lack of access to 4G networks forced them to work against the odds to deliver online
teaching. The slowness of the internet and consequent deprivation of not being able to see
their students was frustrating. One teacher stated, “I am a teacher by profession so the
internet is the only option left for us to impart some education to our students…Uploading/
downloading video and audio lessons/assignments is taking much time under this speed.
Live video streaming becomes impossible. 4G Internet would make a considerable difference
and make one to one interaction possible.” (Questionnaire response). Moreover, the lack
of high-speed internet prevented them getting access to relevant material for teaching. “I
am not able to provide online classes convincingly to my students due to the lack of speed.”
(Questionnaire response, lecturer, Kulgam). According to Shakeel Shuja, a Srinagar-based
teacher who gives three online lectures from his home daily, “the entire process driven by
the slow-internet merely makes us teachers as some talking heads. We can’t even read the
proper facial expressions and body language of our students on mobile screens… We are

108 Sajad Bhat, Jyotsna Bharti, ‘Poor and Pestering: 2G-Online Classes ‘Killing Curiosity’ in Kashmir’, Kashmir Observer, June 4,
2020, https://m.kashmirobserver.net/2020/06/04/poor-and-pestering-2g-online-classes-killing-curiosity-in-kashmir/.
109 Niha Masih, Shams Irfan and Joanna Slater, ‘India’s Internet shutdown in Kashmir is the longest ever in a democracy’,
Washington Post, December 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/indias-internet-shutdown-in-kashmir-is-
now-the-longest-ever-in-a-democracy/2019/12/15/bb0693ea-1dfc-11ea-977a-15a6710ed6da_story.html.

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running these online classes for the heck of it, as 2G internet defeats the very purpose of the
learning process”110

7 Higher education
There are nine state universities and two central universities in Jammu and Kashmir, in
addition to a campus of the National Sanskrit Sansthan (deemed university). Two of the
state universities – the University of Kashmir and the University of Jammu – have more than
150 government and about 80 private affiliated colleges, the administrative control of which
rests with the Government. There are about three lakh students pursuing undergraduate
and postgraduate courses, including M. Phil. and Ph. D. programmes, in these universities
and colleges. In March 2020, they shifted from campus learning to online learning due
to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the poor internet connectivity of the 2G service was not
compatible with the strength and uninterrupted connectivity required for longer duration
online sessions every day. Online examinations that some of the educational institutions
decided to conduct remained another cause of tension to students. Though other sectors,
such as banking, insurance and retail, also suffered on account of poor internet connectivity,
the loss to both school and higher education students is manifold and cannot be easily
recouped. Moreover, classes carried online through platforms such as WhatsApp, Zoom
and Google Classroom remained confined to major towns, thus depriving students of rural
and hill terrains due to limited facilities.
The School and Higher Education Department’s live classes through government-owned
TV channels and local Cable TV network channels, too, are often not available. University
teachers complain of the ways in which lack of 4G connection has frustrated them as
teachers. “There are frequent disruptions in the internet which makes me unable to
maintain a seamless connectivity with my students. I am not able to upload PPT files and
therefore have to convert them into PDF files first. I am not able to upload any audio or
video files over my Google Classroom set up for online education. Less than 50 percent of
my students are able to attend my online classes and even they are facing a lot of difficulties
downloading PDF files and attending lectures without any disruptions. Overall, it has been
a very discouraging and unpleasant experience.” (Questionnaire response).
Students face immense problems, too. According to student-activist Sayed Suri, he has not
attended a single class from March 23, 2020, because he was not able to access his university’s
module page. “Sometimes if it may open, it takes 2-3 hours. Otherwise, mostly it says, ‘out of
time’ and goes back.”111 Another student, who is preparing for the civil services examination,
said, “due to the slow internet speed, at times I am not able to connect to my class or find it
difficult to come online. I also am not able to connect to other online resources, which can

110 Sajad Bhat, Jyotsna Bharti, ‘Poor and Pestering: 2G-Online Classes ‘Killing Curiosity’ in Kashmir’, Kashmir Observer, June 4,
2020, https://m.kashmirobserver.net/2020/06/04/poor-and-pestering-2g-online-classes-killing-curiosity-in-kashmir/.
111 Voices from Kashmir: Narratives that lost connection (initiative by internetshutdowns.in), 27 January, 2020, https://sflc.in/
using-2g-fight-pandemic-digital-world.

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be helpful.” He sometimes had to wait for 2 to 3 hours to download an assignment sent by


his teachers. (Questionnaire response) A third commented that she had to connect to classes
via audio rather than video since the 2G network could not accommodate the video load. 112
Nor could students apply readily for courses offered by the universities at state and national
levels. “The internet outage has forced many people to move out of the valley at very dear
costs. The students are suffering from mental, physical and emotional unease because of
this. The internet is a means through which students can explore career opportunities but
the internet ban in Kashmir has put a permanent lockdown on the career avenues of students.
I myself suffered a huge loss with reference to PhD research work”. (Questionnaire
response, Assistant Professor, Anantnag).
Post-graduate students, researchers and university fellows faced additional obstacles to
professional activities. Apart from being severely hampered in their research, they could
not attend conferences, or send papers for publication. Moreover, universities in Kashmir
have not been able to conduct semester exams because of the post August situation and are
now proposing that they will conduct both the 1st and 2nd semester exams together, adding
to the workload of both students and teachers.
The University Grants Commission has issued new guidelines that include promotion
on the basis of internal examination and external examination only in the final semester.
But the situation is still not fully clear to the faculty and students as to how to implement
these guidelines in Jammu and Kashmir due to non-availability of basic infrastructure to
meet online learning requirements.

112 Ibid.

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IMPACT ON HEALTH

T he impact of the lockdowns on health shows a clear distinction between the political
and security lockdown of August 2019 and the COVID-19 lockdown of March 2020.
Based chiefly on 70 responses to a questionnaire circulated by the Forum on Human
Rights, with respondents that included doctors, medical personnel, patients and relatives,
the August-October 2019 lockdown appears to have had a far more severe impact on
health and healthcare than the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown.

1 August-October 2019 lockdown compared to March-June 2020 lockdown


On August 4, 2019, all communications, including landlines, mobile telephony and the
internet were snapped and a state-wide Section 144 was imposed on Jammu and Kashmir.
Patients found it extremely difficult to travel to the hospitals and private clinics or to speak
to their doctors, and doctors were unable to communicate with specialists for consultations
on grave cases. According to the Kashmir Fact-Finding Report, conducted by a group
of lawyers, human rights activists and a psychiatrist, and published in October 2019,
roadblocks were set up at every lane, doubling the time that it took patients who could walk
to get to the hospital and back.113 According to one of our respondents, the snapping of all
telephones also included emergency numbers of ambulances and fire brigades. Moreover,
the valley faced shortages of medicines and delays in their delivery to hospitals and clinics.
Home delivery was not allowed either. Several patients are believed to have died as a result
of the complete lockdown.114
As a biotech researcher based in Srinagar put it: “The impact has been fatal for many, to
say the least. Quick, easy access to healthcare is an absolute, basic human need. Curfews
restricting movement coupled with snapping of cellular and internet networks, complete
blockade of movement and communication, following abrogation of 370, weighed
heavily on every Kashmiri mind and quickly became the worst nightmare for those in need
of healthcare especially with medical emergencies. With no access to medical personnel
through phones and internet and no access to ambulances and public transport, the only
alternative was to take aim in the dark, head for the nearest hospitals, clinics, which
for many were very long distances, carrying the ailing on foot, stretchers, private transport

113 People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) report, Imprisoned Resistance: 5th August and its aftermath, October 2019, http://
www.pucl.org/reports/imprisoned-resistance-5th-august-and-its-aftermath.
114 Sameer Yasir and Jeffrey Gettleman, ‘In Kashmir, a Race Against Death, With No Way to Call a Doctor’, The New York Times,
October 7, 2019 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/07/world/asia/kashmir-doctors-phone.html.

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if available, be stopped and questioned at every check-post, and if you’re still breathing
by the time you reach the destination, keep your fingers crossed for help being available.
The heartache is hard to imagine.
“The Covid situation, although a tough one as well, does not seem as bad. Though
movement is restricted, it’s not entirely curbed. Hospitals are running and medical staff is
in place. Cellular network and 2g internet services are a breather making access to medical
personnel and ambulances easier, unlike post August 2019. But communication gets snapped
every now and then and we can feel the same helplessness in such times.”
On the other hand, as another respondent pointed out, in the COVID-19 conditions it is
virtually impossible for residents of containment zones to go to the hospital. Moreover,
in most districts, “due to the shortage of staff, infrastructure and funding, the health
system with its total attention to Covid-19 is unable to cope with the crisis and the
rising number of cases. Most of the Corona-positive patients have been quarantined in
non-medical facilities with poor facilities. Due to the shortage of doctors and paramedical
staff, most of these patients are being taken care of by teachers and other government
employees. There are also examples where there has been laxity in testing.” (Questionnaire
response, teacher, Kulgam).

2 Harassment/delays of doctors and medical personnel at check-posts


Though traffic curbs may have eased during the COVID-19 lockdown, several doctors have
been held up and even beaten at check-posts, which continue to be in place. For example,
on June 3, 2020, Dr Muzaffar Jan, a prominent epidemiologist, was allegedly beaten by
CRPF troops in Budgam district. On May 26, the Chief Medical Officer of Bandipora district
was not allowed to cross a check-post while on his way to inspect a quarantine and sample
collection centre. On May 23, Dr Syed Maqbool, a senior cardiologist, was detained and
allegedly beaten by the police in Srinagar while on his way to the hospital. In two of the
cases, the doctors were traveling in official government vehicles.115 Following protests by
the Doctors Association of Kashmir, Inspector-General of Police Vijay Kumar issued
instructions that medical personnel were to be given passage at check-posts.
According to one doctor, a woman, “healthcare workers were attacked… ambulance drivers
and paramedics particularly”, but by whom was not specified. “The stress among the
healthcare workers is more than the general population,” she added, “and lack of empathy
shown towards them is adding to their plight.” (Questionnaire response). The trauma
of not being able to care for patients in need, she and other doctors underlined, had caused
widespread depression amongst medical personnel.
3 Ban on 4G networks and restriction to 2G
Across Jammu and Kashmir, the restriction of mobile telephony and internet to 2G has

115 Observer News Service, ‘Senior Kashmir Epidemiologist Thrashed by CRPF in Budgam’, Kashmir Observer, June 3, 2020,
https://m.kashmirobserver.net/2020/06/03/senior-kashmir-epidemiologist-thrashed-by-crpf-in-budgam/amp/, Adil Akhzer, ‘‘You are
harassing doctors’: Bandipora CMO tells J&K Police in viral video’, Indian Express, May 26, 2020 https://indianexpress.com/article/
india/kashmir-coronavirus-jk-police-cardiologist-bandipora-cmo-viral-video-6427983/.

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caused a host of problems, from curtailed abilities to keep up with medical research,
in particular the latest information on dealing with COVID-19, to difficulty in advising
patients on the phone given the slowness of 2G networks and the unavailability of key
Apps on them. Video-conferencing for medical consultations has become impossible, with
grave consequences for patients suffering from complex medical problems. Healthcare
workers complained that they were unable to participate in an online meeting organized
by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to provide guidance on how to operate
ventilators for critical patients affected by the COVID-19 virus.116
Selected quotations from a range of medical specialists below:
“Omar Salim, a leading urologist in Srinagar, said his abiding regret is not being able to
consult with colleagues on a particularly difficult case. In July, Salim saw a patient who
had advanced-stage pancreatic cancer. He contacted fellow specialists in Mumbai to consult
on possible treatments. Then communication snapped in August. The patient died in
November.”117
In her Writ Petition No. 10817 of 2020 for restoration of 4G service, Revati Laul, Director
of the Foundation for Media Responsibility, quoted the following medical experts (names
blanked by her):
According to the President of the Doctors Association of Kashmir, 4G internet is absolutely
imperative “to reduce the pressure on hospitals and minimize the risk of hospitals turning
into COVID 19 hotspots… doctors in America had their patients calling them and they were
interacting with their family physicians video-graphically.” (Affidavit, para 3).
The spokesperson for the Doctors Association of Kashmir raised another crucial point –
disseminating safety precautions and awareness to the people of the Union Territory,
especially those living in far-flung areas and who do not read or write, has become very
difficult with the mobile speed restrictions. “Video is the easiest and most crucial ally in
fighting a pandemic. Until we can make the common person educated and aware about this
disease, she cannot fully protect herself from it. But it’s impossible to upload videos at the
moment.” (Affidavit, para 6).
A doctor at Srinagar’s Government Medical College, added, “This is so frustrating. Trying
to download the guidelines for intensive care management as proposed by doctors in
England. It is as many as 24 MBs. It has been one hour... still not able to do so… I have so
many patients who are just able to call me this time. I can’t understand what they are trying
to tell me exactly... One said, ‘I have pain in the tummy.’ The tummy is big. It has around
20 organs inside. So then I ask – is it the upper part of the tummy, is it the right side, is it
lower?... It’s not possible to accurately pin-point what they’re saying.” (Affidavit, para 4).

116 ‘Voices from Kashmir: Narratives that lost connection’, (initiative of internetshutdowns.in), January 27, 2020,https://sflc.in/
using-2g-fight-pandemic-digital-world.
117 Ibid.

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An eye surgeon said, “I am an ophthalmologist and we have to see patients very far away.
With video conferencing, it makes it much easier to tackle issues of the eyes. It gives us 90%
of the diagnosis. In this scenario, we are suffering a lot.” (Affidavit, para 5) 118.
4. Impact on non-COVID healthcare facilities
Doctors and patients alike complained that the stressed state of healthcare in Jammu and
Kashmir is such that, in order to cope with the pandemic, other services such as Out-Patient
Departments, surgeries and wards for patients suffering from non-COVID ailments, have
been closed. According to an online survey conducted by Child Relief and You, 77 percent of
respondents from Jammu and Kashmir said they had not been able to access immunization
services for children aged 1-5, as compared to 63 percent for the rest of North India.119
According to one of the respondents to the Forum’s survey, “most of the dental clinics are
closed, the patients have to face a lot (of problems)”.
As a lawyer from Kupwara district reported: “in Kupwara district people were forced to
walk 30 to 40 kms by foot to buy life-saving drugs… mostly the sufferers are pregnant
women and children as there is no separate maternity or pediatric hospital functioning
in the district and pregnant women and children were mostly being shifted to the
SDH Kupwara from all the concerned primary health centers and in other critical matters
to the Srinagar Lal Ded Hospital or children’s hospital Sonawar, However due to the
shutdown of sub district hospital Kupwara by the Chief Medical Officer Kupwara vide
office order No: CMOK/2020/21-23, dated 06.04.2020, that designated the Sub-district
hospital Kupwara as an isolation hospital for COVID-19 patients and consequent thereof
shut down all the sections/units functioning in the SDH including casualty, routine OPD/
IPD/gynae/dialysis and all other services, it turned hard to move the pregnancy cases to a
distance which is 22 kms away from the town as the people belonging to areas of Lolab,
Kalaroos, Machil, Kralpora, Trehgam, Chowkibal, Bednumbal, Manigah or other areas
were to cross 50-60 kms to reach the district hospital Handwara or have to cross 90-130 kms
to reach hospitals at Srinagar.”

5 Impact on patients
The impact on patients ranged from (a), the enormous difficulty of accessing medical care
in the immediate months after the August lockdown, when Section 144 was imposed on
the state, referred to above, (b), similar difficulties in accessing non-COVID related medical
care when the pandemic hit, (c), an exponential rise in mental health problems, and (d),
financial stress and inability to pay for medical care given closures and loss of jobs and
wages since August 2019.

6 Mental health
Undoubtedly the most widespread and long-lasting impact of the lockdown since August

118 Revati Laul, Director of Foundation for Media Professionals, in Writ Petition No. 10817 of 2020, Foundation of Media
Professionals v UT of Jammu and Kashmir, carried on Livelaw, https://www.livelaw.in/pdf_upload/pdf_upload-373172.pdf
119 Child Relief and You (CRY), Rapid Online Perception Study About the Effects of Covid-19 On Children (May 2020), p.15,
https://www.cry.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Report-CRY_COVID-19-Study.pdf

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2019, which was accompanied by rising conflict, has been on mental health. According
to mental health expert Justine Hardy, who has worked in Jammu and Kashmir since the
1990s with Kashmir Lifeline, an organization overseen by the Healing Minds Foundation:

“When societies are living through crises there are both similarities and differences between
the challenges caused by a ‘known threat’ (the lockdown and increased security after
Abrogation) and an ‘invisible threat’ (Covid-19). Both situations increase the pressure on
all public services, and this pressure is very marked in the field of healthcare. Seen from a
distance it is clear that the strain on the healthcare infrastructure and delivery systems has
been extreme in both lockdown cases. One of the main aspects of this is what is called ‘the
drag effect’. If people cannot get to hospitals and doctors for extended periods it means that
the healthcare system then has to deal with more advanced symptoms and late diagnosis
of major illnesses, once the public can get to clinics and hospitals again. Healthcare costs
increase both for the providers and for the patients. This can also affect the quality of care
due to increased over-crowding and pressure on key aspects such as surgical theatre
times and the availability of life-saving courses of treatment such as chemotherapy
and radiotherapy for cancer patients. When this is applied to mental health care, the
later diagnosis of patients with severe anxiety or depression is equally as high risk as
that of late diagnosis as outlined above. This is where ‘an invisible threat’ creates another
kind of pressure due to often rapidly increasing levels of anxiety. Those with pre-existing
mental health issues can deteriorate to dangerous levels in a short period of time as the
general understanding of managing mental health risks in the region remains low.”
(Questionnaire response)

A valley-based psychiatrist added: “the post-abrogation lockdown has shown a sudden rise
in anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendency cases. I received one case a month back, the
man lived alone at home, he would go to meet his relatives every weekend. Alone due to
lockdown and communication clampdown, he started getting panic attacks and developed
suicidal thoughts, he is now a patient of acute depression and suffers from tremors,
suicidal tendencies, and frequent panic attacks.” Drug abuse, he says, has become very
common. “Substances are easily available and the youth are being engulfed in this deadly
cycle. Youngsters have become addicts and to satisfy their cravings resort to stealing money
from their families.” (Questionnaire response).

These opinions are substantiated by all the other responses to our questionnaire, whether
from Jammu or the valley. Every single person stressed depression and anxiety as a
result of the continuing lockdown from August 2019, which was only marginally alleviated
by the provision of 2G telephony and internet. A few extracts below:

“Since the abrogation of article 370 things have changed in terms of health, education,
socializing… no one is secure regarding the future of their kids, work, life. A lot of cases
of domestic violence have been reported since the last couple of months, the reason

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being frustration in terms of loss in business, work, having nothing to do, continuous
lockdowns, communication blockades, curfews etc.” (Questionnaire response, housewife,
Srinagar).
“Due to the lockdown imposed on August 5th, I was not able to speak to dad for a month,
nor did I know about his situation as he lives on life saving drugs. I was frustrated and so
mentally disturbed that I could not concentrate on anything else.” (Questionnaire response,
NRI, US).
“This time during the covid-19 lockdown getting to a doctor was a challenge. Most of the
private practice was stopped. The patients and doctors seemed a threat to each other. One
of my cousins who had some complications with her pregnancy was refused treatment
at a reputed private hospital during the initial lock down. Beyond doubt, our mental
health suffers the most… My mother suffers from anxiety and depression since long. It
began in the 1990s turmoil. It only worsens during the Internet blockades. One of my friend’s
daughters is outside the country for education. Her daughter got anxiety attacks during the
blockade.” (Questionnaire response, teacher)
“Children and adolescents in general feel very sad, lonely and isolated because of
restrictions and continuous hearing of sad stories. The parental control has also increased
over children. The frequent restrictions and lockdowns has been one of the main reasons
for children experiencing any psychosocial issue to overcome such issues both in terms of
hampered access to health services and getting exposed to recurrent traumatic situations
(even just hearing about adverse events constitutes trauma and may affect children
adversely). Young adolescents have an aggressive tendency and desperation for not being
able to access the internet. It naturally develops an angry behaviour… Behaviour changes
and fatigue can be seen as an outcome of long lockdown.” (Questionnaire response,
development professional, Kulgam).
“These shutdowns also led people into a spiral of emotional instability. As a result of this
loss in the rational thinking process of the youth, many youngsters are prone to exploitation
by violent elements under the pretext of Kashmir issue and also Kashmiri youth have
continuously been exploited by various forces for political interests too.” (Questionnaire
response, Government employee, Kupwara).
“Children under 5 years old show reactions like unusual crying, hunger or no hunger.
Children between 6 and 12 show a lot of panic and hustle bustle. Children aged 12 and
above are overall in a depressed state.” (Questionnaire response, teacher, Jammu).
Two of the doctors who responded to the Forum’s questionnaire also pointed out that there
was “no online facility as far as mental health was concerned.” (Questionnaire responses).

7 Financial stress
Several respondents pointed out that ten months of joblessness due to the lockdown from
August 2019 till today caused their own healthcare constraints. The long lockdown, said

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a healthcare researcher, impacted “access to health services in both direct and indirect
ways through impeding access to transport, hampering mobility and impacting incomes
(people who depend on daily wages don’t find avenues to earn). The impact on livelihoods
affects the affordability of people to access health services. To note, outpatient health care
is expensive in J&K as compared to all-India. For instance, the NSSO report 507 revealed
that the average expenditure (medical and other related expenditure but excluding loss of
household income/wages) for non-hospitalised treatment per ailing person was Rs.394 and
Rs.478 for rural and urban J&K, while it was only Rs.285 and Rs.326 in rural and urban India
(NSSO, 2006).”
“COVID has created a worse situation. Along with restriction, it has also brought fear of
contracting the disease from anyone. Anyone in the neighbourhood or among relatives is
seen as a potential carrier of COVID-19. As a result, people even in rural areas are also
scared and fearful to carry any construction related work impacting local livelihoods.”
“Further, because of COVID people tend to avoid visiting health facilities. The stories in
the media about medical staff getting infected have changed people’s perception about
safety at health facilities and thereby impacting access to health services. People don’t see
it safe to visit health facilities. In general, any illness other than COVID has taken a back
seat and its implications are to be seen. The OPD records clearly show a steep decline in the
number of people accessing health care.” (Questionnaire response).
A development professional added: “One of the observations I gathered from interacting
with people associated with local charity work, an increase in numbers for asking financial
help to access healthcare and meet routine daily medicinal needs. Similarly, during
interactions with people associated with pharmacy business and retail medical shops,
many people stop taking routine life-saving drugs due to financial conditions. It is generally
elderly population who are dependent on their children for such support. The connection is
obviously linked to loss of daily income.” (Questionnaire response).

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IMPACT ON INDUSTRY AND EMPLOYMENT

B efore the lockdown of August 2019, Jammu and Kashmir was one of the better-
performing states of India, economically as well as on human development indices.
The state ranked third highest on its tax revenue, in comparison to other states, and second
highest on non-tax revenue.120 It was among the top three special category states for low
fiscal deficit, 121 and among the top ten for its low poverty rate. 122 Its net state domestic
product had risen from over Rs. 53,000 crores in 2011-12 to over Rs. 78,000 crores in 2016-
17, and its per capita gross state domestic product had risen from around Rs. 60,000 to Rs.
100,000.123
The August 2019 lockdown plunged the state into a sharp downward spiral. By end
December 2019, the economy of the valley was in dire straits. In four months of the
lockdown, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said, Kashmir’s industries
suffered a loss of Rs.17,878.18 crores (roughly USD 2.4 billion), while job losses in the valley
were just under half a million (497,000).124 Estimated industry losses during the period
January-July 2020 amount to another Rs.22,000 crores (roughly USD 2.9 billion), bringing the
total losses for the period August 2019-June 2020, as estimated by the KCCI, to almost
Rs. 40,000 crores (USD 5.3 billion).125
Comparable figures are not available for Jammu, but the Jammu Chamber of Commerce
and Industry (JCCI) asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to “constitute a panel
to assess the factual huge running losses being faced by the business houses in J&K post
August 05, 2019 on account of continuous shutdown, law and order problems and non-
availability of internet connectivity” and grant compensation. They also sought special
protection for existing industrial units that had been established by the Jammu and
Kashmir residents such as “mandatory purchase preference by the government/semi
government projects” so that such units “could survive the competition with the big existing
and the new industrial units that would be setting up their units in J&K.”126

120 Reserve Bank of India, Handbook of Statistics on Indian States, Tables 134: State-wise Own Tax Revenue, and 135: State-wise
Own Non-Tax Revenue, https://m.rbi.org.in/Scripts/PublicationsView.aspx?id=18930.
121 Ibid, Table 131: State-Wise Gross Fiscal Deficit.
122 Ibid, Table 14: State-wise Poverty Rate.
123 Ibid, Table 15: Per Capita Net State Domestic Product at Factor Cost.
124 Ministry of Statistics and Implementation, Government of India, GSVA/NSVA by economic activities: Jammu and Kashmir,
http://mospi.nic.in/GSVA-NSVA.
125 Press Trust of India, ‘Kashmir economy suffered loss of Rs. 17,878 cr. in 4 months after Article 370 abrogation’, December
17, 2019, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/kashmir-economy-suffered-loss-four-months-after-article-370-abrogation-
jk-6172096/. For category-wise figures, including job losses, see KCCI computation in the Appendices.
126 Telephone interview with the KCCI secretary, July 7, 2020.

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As a professor of commerce from Jammu commented, prolonged lockdowns from August


2019 till date led to low demand, fewer purchases, a reduction in satisfaction, trust and
loyalty, which in turn reduced turnover, margins, market share and overall business
performance. The lockdowns, he continued, “had an immense density on customers as
well as employees. The stress of not working, the job security and regular salaries were
grave concerns for employees and impacted industry. For customers, the procurement of
goods from the nearest shop was also a big challenge.” (Questionnaire response)
The most affected sectors were agriculture and horticulture, construction, handicrafts,
manufacture, real estate, transport, tourism, IT and small businesses, including start-ups,
and financial services, the bulk of which have seen a drop of 50 percent in earnings. In
November 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir State Level Bankers’ Committee, representing
41 banks operating in the region, approached the Reserve Bank of India for a special loan
rehabilitation package and relaxation in capital provisioning for bad loans to save their
balance sheets. What they got was debt servicing.127
In effect, Kashmiri industry suffered a quadruple whammy: first the August lockdown,
then the restriction of internet to 2G, then the COVID-19 lockdown and then the opening
of the Jammu and Kashmir economy to companies from other parts of India. For the
first time, mining rights were opened to all Indian bidders, and the bulk went to non-
Kashmiris.128 Though Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced some relief for
industries affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, there was no relief for the preceding
eight months of lockdown that the Jammu and Kashmir industries had to face, nor
rehabilitative programs for local industries that are forced out by national ones.
Moreover, though phone and internet services were restored, albeit on the slow and
limited 2G network, mobile telephony and the internet are snapped every time there is an
armed encounter, sometimes for four days at a stretch. From the beginning of June 2020 to
the first week of July, there was an armed encounter every day.
Below we describe the economic impact of the lockdowns on selected industries and
employment, based both on quantitative and on responses to the Forum’s questionnaires.

1 The fruit industry


The fruit industry, one of the state’s largest producers that supplies apples across India,
contributes about 10 percent to Jammu and Kashmir’s economy. It lost around 1.35 lakh
metric tons of its crop due to restricted transport facilities. A government announcement
that the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) would

127 Ejaz Ayoub, ‘With One Lockdown After Another, J&K’s Economy is Shuttered and Shattered’, The Wire, May 22, 2020,
https://thewire.in/economy/with-one-lockdown-after-another-jks-economy-is-shuttered-and-shattered
128 Athar Parvaiz, ‘In A First, Outside Companies Earn 100 Percent Mining Rights in Kashmir’, Kashmir Observer,
February 7, 2020, https://kashmirobserver.net/2020/02/10/in-a-first-outside-companies-earn-100-percent-mining-rights-
inkashmir/#:~:text=In%20A%20First%2C%20Outside%20Companies%20Earn%20100%20Percent%20Mining%20Rights%20In%20
Kashmir,-Join%20%40KashmirObserverOnline&text=For%20example%20in%20Srinagar%20district,bidding%20amount%20of%20
1800%2C000..

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buy the crop came to little, since NAFED faced the same transport obstacles, along with
limited funds. According to the MHA, by January 2020, NAFED had only purchased
Rs.70.45 crores worth of apples,129 while the average revenue from apple sales is around
Rs. 14,000 crores per annum. 130
As a fruit trader from Sopore commented, “Almost all apple dealers are defaulters of
different banks. The internet, especially 4G network, being non-functional makes the major
difference and has hit hard the apple trade in all its parameters. Online payments, transport
availability, was hampered and the transport charges went up three times high. The
quality of pesticides couldn’t be scrutinized online and there was a complete monopoly of
pesticide dealers selling substandard pesticides on exorbitant prices. Proper marketing
of the crop couldn’t be done which was only possible when the dealers could check the
market position of different mandis. That was possible comparatively only when we would
have had access to the internet.” (Questionnaire response).
Moreover, another respondent said, that despite the damage caused by both the lockdown
and natural causes such as early snowfall, “the Lieutenant-Governor’s administration
only paid a few hundred rupees to farmers as ex gratia relief. At present, Covid-19 has
given another serious jolt to the farmers as various cash crops are ready in the field viz.
strawberry, cherry, but ironically the major fruit wholesale markets are closed and Kashmiri
horticultural products have no market available to sell to.” (Questionnaire response).

2 Tourism
The tourism industry reportedly contributes 8 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.
By the end of 2019, tourist receipts were down 71 percent, according to government figures
and between 86-90 percent according to industry reports; 131 with the internet closed,
bookings were near impossible to make and anyway no one wanted to go to a valley under
siege. According to government statistics provided to parliament on December 9, 2019,
tourist figures declined from over quarter of a million in 2018 to just over 43,000 between
August-December. As a result, there were an estimated 144,500 jobs lost in the tourism and
handicrafts sector alone.132

129 ‘Economic development of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370’, Press Information Bureau, Government
of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, February 4, 2020, https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1601843
130 Haseeb A. Drabu, ‘A $5 Trillion Economy By 2025? Why Kashmir Can Be The Apple Of India’s Eye’. Outlook magazine, 12
August 2019, https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/india-news-a-5-trillion-economy-by-2005-why-kashmir-can-be-the-
apple-of-indias-eye/302000#:~:text=Kashmir%20contributes%202%20mn%20metric,capacity%20is%20in%20the%20state.
131 Aniket Aga and Chitrangada Choudhury, ‘RTI Reveals Union Minister Lied to Parliament about Hit to Tourism in J&K’, The
Wire, January 3, 2020, https://thewire.in/government/rti-reveals-union-minister-lied-to-parliament-about-hit-to-tourism-in-jk.
132 Athar Parvez, ‘Kashmir tourism has dropped 86% since Article 370 was hollowed out’, Scroll.in, Jan 29, 2020, https://scroll.
in/article/951354/abrogation-of-article-370-has-broken-the-back-of-kashmirs-tourism-industry.

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Table 2: Number of tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir from August to


November: 2017-2019
Month 2017 2018 2019
August 164,395 85,534 10,130
September 135,751 103,195 4,562
October 133,071 55,971 9,327
November 112,300 33,720 12,086
December 65,837 38,024 6,954
Total 611,534 316,424 43,059

Source: JK Tourism Department.133

In March 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir administration introduced a draft tourism policy,
and in July a draft houseboats policy, which lays down norms and guidelines for registration,
renewal, and operation of houseboats in the Dal and Nageen lakes. Under the draft
policy, houseboat owners require no-objection certificates from the Power Development
Department, the PHE Department, the Fire and Emergency Services Department, the
Pollution Control Board, LAWDA, and any other authority/departments the registering
authority considers relevant. According to India Today, “Operators are labelling the
policy as ‘draconian and harsh’ because it expects them to shape up or shut shop within
a three-month deadline to refurbish as per renewed regulations. Anyone even remotely
familiar with the houseboat business knows that refurbishing a unit that has not been
fully operational is a process that takes much longer than three months.” The magazine
points out that houseboats provide a source of livelihood to lakhs of people both directly
and indirectly, including shikarawallas, flower sellers, fishermen, floating handicraft markets,
photographers, woodcarvers, khatamband craftsmen, vegetable growers, handicraft
hawkers, carpenters specialising in hull-making, and crewel fabric makers among others.134
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has announced that the former state will
reopen for tourism soon, but they also plan a much restricted Amarnath Yatra, allowing
only 7,500 pilgrims (generally the Yatra saw upwards of 100,000 tourists every year to
the valley).

3 IT and e-commerce dependent industries


The worst affected industries are those that are directly connected to or solely reliant on
the internet. Many of them were forced to shift base, leaving their local workforce jobless.
Some were forced to close down altogether. According to one IT company owner: “While
I live in the US, I have an IT company with a work force and operations facility based
in Kashmir. Ever since the government has imposed a lockdown and then reduced the
Internet speed in the valley, our facility in Kashmir is non-functional. Our company was

133 Muzamil Bhat and Chitrangada Choudhury, ‘Number of Tourists in Kashmir Down by 86% in August-December 2019: RTI’,
The Wire, January 26, 2020.
134 Prerna Koul Mishra ‘New guidelines deliver final blow to Kashmir’s iconic houseboat industry’, India Today, July 3, 2020,
https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/kashmir-s-iconic-houseboat-industry-gets-a-final-blow-1696751-2020-07-03.

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forced to move base temporarily to Delhi, due to which the workforce in Kashmir was laid
off. Our staff in Kashmir has been out of work since August 2019.” (Questionnaire response).
According to another: “I have a software development company in Srinagar. In August
2019, it was clear internet services will be banned for a long period of the time. I had to
close the office and shift operations outside Kashmir. Even now we can work from home
and support many families if 4G is available. Since Aug 2019, we are losing clients, all
our employees were from Kashmir. They lost their jobs and we lost skilled resources.

Our income became negative with viabilities piling up.” (Questionnaire response).
Similarly, the carpet and garments industries, which too depended on online orders, have
been heavily hit. “About 20,000 weavers were employed by units making silk carpets.
The communication and internet did not restore on time and the importers have gone
elsewhere.” (Questionnaire response, Srinagar)
Village and home-based industries too have been hard hit. “Before the August 2019
lockdown, I used to work from my home on the computer. However, the internet ban did
badly affect my work as a small entrepreneur. Restoration of 2G facilities did help but little
and the internet works too slowly and I can’t work properly.” (Questionnaire response,
village level entrepreneur, Handwara). “My sister’s homemade cake business runs
on Facebook and Instagram. With the internet blocked, she doesn’t get any orders.”
(Questionnaire response, teacher).

4 Transport
According to the KCCI, the transport and communications sector suffered a loss of 2,267
crores between August-December 2019 due to the lockdown imposed in August. Some
part of these losses was also due to the ban imposed on truck drivers seeking to collect
harvested apples from Kashmir for sale in the rest of India, by militants opposed to the
government’s demotion and division of Jammu and Kashmir state in August. In October, for
example, two truck drivers were shot in Shopian and their trucks burned.135
Public transport was also closed, including private buses, first due to the August lockdown
and then the COVID-19 lockdown. As a young unionist from the valley commented,
“There was an absolute dysfunctionality of public transport in the valley from the August
lockdown up to December 2019. The transporters, who also cater to the large weaker
section of population in the valley, were badly affected economically. The Covid-19 threat
has shattered their business up to 100%, hence thousands of people associated with the
transport business are in distress.” (Questionnaire response). Added a teacher from
Jammu, “Most transporters cannot even pay the instalments on their loans.” (Questionnaire
response, Udhampur)

135 Hakeem Irfan, ‘2 truck drivers killed, 1 injured as militants set apple-laden vehicles on fire in J&K’s Shopian’, The Economic
Times, October 25, 2019, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/2-truck-drivers-killed-1-injured-
as-militants-set-apple-laden-vehicles-on-fire-in-jks-shopian/articleshow/71749952.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_
medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst.

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5 Start-ups, small businesses, shops


Figures on aggregate losses suffered by start-ups, small businesses and shops are not
available, but there are innumerable individual accounts in the media, as well as from
responses to the Forum’s questionnaire. A few examples are excerpted below:
“I am a pharma businessman, I run a clinic with a medical shop attached. I’ve 6 employees.
Post abrogation, for at least 3 months, there was a total lockdown. We had 0% income,
my family’s daily needs had to be taken care of from past savings. I earn Rs.2 lakhs per
month on an average, post abrogation it has gone to less than half of it, out of which
6 employees have to be paid, clinic rent and school fees of my 2 children who also haven’t
been to school since then. From August 2019 to June 2020 our business has dropped to 50%
profit than usual.” (Questionnaire response, pharma businessman, Srinagar).
“Shopkeepers said that vital supplies like insulin and baby food, which they typically
ordered online, were running out. Cash was scarce, as metal shutters covered the doors
and windows of banks and A.T.M.s, which relied on the internet for every transaction.
Muheet Mehraj, founder and chief executive of Kashmir Box, a start-up that buys traditional
handicrafts like pashmina shawls and pottery from local artisans and sells them online,
said he could not check incoming orders or communicate with his suppliers. His 25
employees were sitting idle.” (Questionnaire response).
According to Aaditya Kitroo, co-founder of Jos&fine, who asked his artisans to work from
home after reassembling handlooms there, “We ensured our production continued without
any hassle.” However, demand decreased and half of his looms were not running. The
more important thing, Kitroo said, was to make sure that they did not have to fire anyone.
“But sadly, we’re getting close to that.” Anam Siraj, owner of Closet Cloud by Anam, a self-
made fashion brand, added: “My store was largely closed after the August lockdown. Even
online work was not possible as deliveries were stopped.”136 Parvaiz Ahmad Bhat, a local
YouTube satirist who had nearly 500,000 subscribers, said his show was making more
than $1,500 every month from advertisements before the August shutdown. “Now I worry
that I will have to start from scratch… My audience doesn’t have Internet access, so what’s
the point of making new work?”137

6 The media
For the first couple of months following the August 2019 lockdown, newspapers were
not published, either in print or online. Newspaper circulation was restricted thereafter
and advertisements from both government and private institutions declined. Journalists
were unable to travel to report and, since criticism of government actions could lead to
stoppage of advertisements and even arrest, opinion became anodyne. As a result,

136 Swati Joshi, ‘Gordian Knot in Enterprise: What’s Happening to Kashmir-Based Startups?’, Kashmir Observer, June 22, 2020
https://kashmirobserver.net/2020/06/22/gordian-knot-in-enterprise-whats-happening-to-kashmir-based-startups/.
137 Niha Masih, Shams Irfan and Joanna Slater, ‘India’s Internet shutdown in Kashmir is the longest ever in a democracy’, The
Washington Post, Dec. 16, 2019.

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newspapers halved in size and saw a sharp fall in content, which further resulted in loss to
their customer base and, in a domino effect, dozens of journalists lost their jobs.
“I have had 60-80% decrease in readership and viewership,” said a print media professional
based in Srinagar (Questionnaire response). According to the head of a newspaper
publishing house in Jammu, “In the pre-Covid lockdown, we were unable to connect to
our offices and staffers in many parts of the state – Kashmir, Doda, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar,
Rajouri and Poonch. The Srinagar edition could not be published for three months
after August 5, 2019. For several months thereafter, the information being published
was sketchy in both editions. The Covid-19 lockdown has further disabled us from
printing (the hawkers have refused to circulate newspapers, the technical staffers
cannot reach the printing press) and we are presently managing to publish only online
despite low connectivity. Right now, both editions are not being printed. This irregularity
leads to massive financial losses and also impacts our circulations and credibility.”
(Questionnaire response).
The hardest hit were reporters in the field. “After the restoration of 2g internet services
none of the media houses rehired their district reporters. I am one among them. Many of
my media friends had the same tale and are still without jobs.” (Questionnaire response).
7 Employment
Jammu and Kashmir’s unemployment rate is almost twice that of the national average, at
17.9 percent in July 2020, as compared to the national average of 9.5 percent.138 Almost a
quarter of its educated young are unemployed, again twice the national average. The new
domicile rules announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs in March 2020 have created
fears of even greater unemployment, since they laid down that anyone who had lived
in the state for 15 years, or had studied there for 7 years, would be eligible for domicile.
Domicile certificates could be issued by the local tehsildar (tax collector) not, as formerly,
by the district magistrate. People with domicile certificates would have the right to
apply for government jobs, the main source of employment after agriculture. Prior to the
new domicile rules, government jobs were reserved for permanent residents of the state
(those whose parents and grandparents had been given permanent resident certificates
under the citizenship rules of 1952).

138 The Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE), Unemployment Rate in India, July 7, 2020, https://
unemploymentinindia.cmie.com/

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T he Jammu and Kashmir media were among the first to bear the brunt of the August 4,
2019 lockdown. With all communications snapped and Section 144 imposed across the
state, newspapers did not publish for two months. When they did restart publication, said
an independent journalist, “Pre-abrogation (of Article 370) we could write our stories with
full dissent. The media platforms were also publishing their editorials with full dissent. That
is not the case anymore.” (Questionnaire response, Pulwama).

A reader commented: “The media has suffered tremendously in Kashmir after the end
of Article 370 and 35-A. The policy after August 5 (2019) was to foster the “normalcy
narrative”. The long-term motive is to censor the media and restrain it from advancing an
opinion/narrative which run counter to Indian claims. As such, the daily newspapers in
Kashmir have become a mouthpiece of the government. Editorials and Op-eds in leading
dailies run health, education, philosophical debates and international news – things that
are unconnected with the ground situation. No one has been allowed to situate the removal
of autonomy with the implications it has on the ground unless the changes are portrayed in
a positive light. A body without a soul. This is what the media and its infrastructure are left
with, post-August.” (Questionnaire response, research scholar).

Apart from both direct and indirect intimidation of editors and proprietors, curbs on
movement and restriction to 2G services severely restricted information flow. According
to a freelance journalist from Kulgam, “First we were denied curfew passes and when
someone somehow got it, his movement was restricted. At times the internet is banned on
the same day as we have to submit our story on which we have spent days and nights.
Sometimes we film videos of great importance but can’t upload because of reduced net speed.
Higher quality pictures suffer.” The impact on their readership was considerable, she added:
“there is a relationship of mutual symbiosis between our readers and us. Our readers are
our source of income. We provide them factual and detailed information. They trust us.
They pay us. Our readers are gradually losing their interest in us because we fail to get them
updated (on events and processes). Because the internet fails us, we can’t reach our readers
on time. Our subscribers quit us.” (Questionnaire response).

1 The new media policy and media scene


A full-fledged mechanism, with its many aspects worked out in careful detail, designed
to very closely monitor – or police – the media, can be said to be the first major policy

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intervention of the Jammu and Kashmir administration after New Delhi brought the former
state directly under its charge on August 5, 2019 by converting it into two Union Territories.
It is in this atmosphere that the MHA’s “revised media policy” for Jammu and Kashmir,
which shall be valid for a period of five years unless changed earlier, was introduced.139 The
media is unlikely to have missed seeing the intention of the government and the direction
in which it was seeking to move.
The policy is not coy. It states without mincing words:
“Jammu and Kashmir has significant law and order and security considerations. It has
been fighting a proxy war supported and abetted from across the border….it is extremely
important that the efforts of anti-social and anti-national elements to disturb the peace
are thwarted. In order to ensure the above, it shall be made incumbent that before the
empanelment of newspapers/news portals for release of advertisements by government,
the antecedents of the paper/news portal as well as that of the publishers/editors/, key
personnel are gone into. …”
Then the details of day-to-day supervision of the media are delineated in the following
terms: “DIPR [The Directorate of Information and Public Relations] shall examine the content
of the print, electronic and other forms of media for fake news, plagiarism, and unethical
or anti-national activities. Any individual or group indulging in fake news, unethical or
anti-national activities or in plagiarism shall be de-empanelled besides being proceeded
against under the law… Any fake news or any news inciting hatred or disturbing communal
harmony shall be proceeded against under IPC/cyber laws.”
And further, “A suitable mechanism with specific ToRs [Terms of Reference] shall be set
up by the DIPR for monitoring the above and ensuring adherence to the guidelines… With
respect to all such matters (as) may involve fake news or news with anti-social, communal
or anti-national content, the implementing agency, viz DIPR will also device (sic) a suitable
coordination and information-sharing mechanism with the security agencies.”
It is not difficult to see that there are two distinct aspects – both egregious and injurious
to democracy – of policing the media evident in the above, in addition to checking the
antecedents of a newspaper’s publishers and other senior personnel before empanelment
for receiving a share of the government’s advertising spend. The first is that the bureaucracy
is under instruction to sit in judgment over what constitutes anti-social and anti-national
news, and then act as censors, though that particular expression is not used.
The second is that the DIPR must devise a suitable “coordination and information-sharing
mechanism with the security agencies.” Here the department of information practically
collapses into the domain of the security agencies, meaning the intelligence services,

139 In supersession of all previous orders, the UT of Jammu and Kashmir issued a Revised Media Policy of the Information and
Public Relations Department vide Order General Administration Department OM No. GDC-89/CM/2020 dated May 12, 2020. The
policy approval came under Administrative Council Decision No. 61/8/2020 on April 29, 2020. The 50-page long policy is set out in
Kashmir Life, June 11, 2020. Quotations from it below are from this source.

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the police, the paramilitary forces and the army. In such a coordination mechanism, it is
clear who will be in the lead role – the DIPR, or security personnel. This is the kind of format
operated by ISPR in Pakistan or can be thought of being successful in one-party states such
as China or North Korea.
The Kashmir valley has about a dozen English-language dailies and around 15 Urdu dailies.
Perhaps each of these is able to meet the circulation criterion for daily newspapers for
purposes of empanelment to be eligible for government advertising, as laid down in the
new Media Policy.
The minimum circulation requirement for English dailies is pegged at 2,000 copies, and
for other languages (in the valley chiefly Urdu, though Jammu has Hindi and Dogri as well)
500 copies. The ask is slightly more for bi-weekly/weekly, fortnightly and monthly offerings.
On the whole, it may be safe to presume that the government has designed its empanelment
requirement for circulation well within marks already achieved by the papers. This
points to its willingness to keep the newspaper owners flush with funds derived from
the government’s ad spend, although “under the New Media Strategy, the department
now proposes to increasingly look toward leveraging electronic and online media to widen
the scope and import of information dissemination.”
In the main, news establishments in Jammu and Kashmir are unlikely to turn down such
a plum proposal. All that is required of them is to pack their wares with the editorial
matter offered by the government, and eschew anything the government is likely to frown
upon. Through a not-so-disguised ‘stick-and-carrot’ policy, the Jammu and Kashmir
administration has set down the template for the open subversion of journalism in Jammu
and Kashmir, especially in the Kashmir valley.
The charges against journalists such as Masrat Zahra and Gowher Geelani (referred to in
the section on civilian security) have evidently been taken as appropriate lessons by Jammu
and Kashmir’s newspaper owners, as a contemporary news report suggests: “The local
newspapers have been playing it safe since August 5, mostly avoiding any independent
coverage of the aftermath of the clampdown and the communications blockade,
fearing reprisal from the government agencies… Several local English dailies have avoided
publishing any editorials and regular columns on the ongoing situation in the Valley.”140
The above report wryly notes that while these newspapers carry “no informed critique/
opinion pieces”, the government’s advertisement “blitzkrieg” promises “new dawns”
even as “the siege and the communications gag is yet to be lifted.”
People in the valley have begun to migrate from newspapers to the radio, the report
informs us. “People are listening to the radio as they did during the 1990s [a reference to the
first militancy and its aftermath in Kashmir] when there was no internet and cable

140 Report by Majid Maqbool, ‘The Wire’, September 17, 2019.

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television network”, it says, quoting a businessman of Sopore in North Kashmir.


Evidently, “BBC London and VOA” are the sought-after radio stations. These bring
“authentic news of the current situation in the region, and what the world is saying
about the scrapping of Article 370 or the bifurcation of the state.” Ominously, in contrast,
“The Indian media is not a trusted source of news. It is repeating what their government
says about what is happening here.”

2 Internet freedom, internet speed, two Supreme Court judgments


Two judgments of the Supreme Court – Anuradha Bhasin, delivered on January 10, 2020,
and Foundation of Media Professionals, pronounced on May 11, 2020141 – are key judicial
delineations on the subject of the freedom of expression, media freedoms, whether or
not the right to access the internet is a human right, and whether or not the right to have
high speed internet (in India’s case the 4G speed, currently the maximum speed for
ordinary transactions available in the country, including in Jammu and Kashmir before
the lockdown effected in August 2019) is a fundamental right/human right. Justice
N. V. Ramana led the Bench in both cases and authored the two judgments.
He cited constitutional principles, and case law, but permitted the government’s contention
that cited serious security considerations in light of Kashmir’s specific circumstances
in relation to terrorism, to prevail above every other consideration, without submitting
the government’s case to scrutiny, which it deserved in light of the case presented by
the petitioners.
The nub of both judgments turned on the impoverished logic of security concerns to
prove which numbers were thrown by the respondents of deaths and injuries and violent
incidents over extended periods of time that look to be far from comparable.
Both judgments cited the state’s right to bring reasonable restrictions – Article 19(2) of
the Constitution of India – to the freedom of expression available through Article 19(1).
They also emphasized the need for proportionality in the state’s actions. Yet, the state came
away smiling.
From the media perspective, these judgments offer not the slightest relief. This is borne
out by the feedback of respondents to the Forum’s questionnaires cited above and in
various sections of this report.
The most glaring defect in the approach of the Bench is to readily accept the state’s version.
The most primary of these is the most conspicuous. To find out the extent of the freedom
under which the media operates in Jammu and Kashmir, especially the valley, all that
is needed is to send for a few copies of the prominent dailies published in the former
state. These would have revealed straightaway that little else is being carried these days,

141 Anuradha Bhasin v Union of India, AIR 2020 SC 1308; Foundation of Media Professionals v UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Writ
Petition No. 10817 of 2020, judgement carried on indiankanoon.org/doc/123992151/.

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besides official handouts. This would have punctured the state’s case that the media was
facing no problems in its operations that were anything out of the ordinary.
Regrettably, the Supreme Court appears to have lost an opportunity to further develop
the jurisprudence on the question of access to the Internet being a fundamental right (if
not a human right), with the question of the speed (2G or 4G) at which it is available to the
daily user being of paramount consideration, in running media operations specially.

Decades ago, a bicycle and a typewriter or a simple camera was all that newspersons
needed. Today the work processes – produced by the march of technology – are such that
quality media operations are hard to conceive without high speed data transfers. It is to be
hoped that the day is not far when the judgments referred to above will be reviewed and
improved upon. For a country claiming to be a democracy, this is critical.

In both the cases brought as writ petitions before the Supreme Court, government
representatives presented arguments that terrorists can easily exploit high-speed internet
because this permits two-way communication. This is the sole basis on which the continued
banning of 4G was sought to be sustained. The top court appeared to accept this logic
avidly. It might as well then accept that the movement of planes or trains or motor vehicles
should be eliminated or restricted in society, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, since
terrorists are also known to use these modern devices.

In Anuradha Bhasin, the top court observed in paragraph 27 of its order, “[In this context],
we need to note that the internet is also a very important tool for trade and commerce.
There is no doubt that there are certain trades which are completely dependent on
the internet…”.

In the very next paragraph, it is therefore not a little surprising to see the court’s language:
“None of the (petitioners’) counsels have argued for declaring the right to access the
internet as a fundamental right.” (Emphasis supplied) This became the ground for the
Supreme Court to not express a view on the matter.

Instead of pursuing such a course of self-denial, although the communications lockdown


and internet deprivation hampering the media were at the heart of the case being brought,
the Bench hearing so crucial a matter could conceivably have seized on the opportunity
to expand the jurisprudence in this sphere. This might have been the making of case law apt
to be cited around the world.

Again, in paragraph 6 of judgement on the Foundation of Media Professionals’ petition, the


Bench took up an important question raised by the petitioner, noting, “Lastly, Respondent
No. 1 has failed to provide any rational nexus between the restriction of internet
speed and national security (and) that since the introduction of the internet in the UT of
J&K, the number of incidents relating to terrorism in the region have actually reduced.”
(Emphasis supplied).

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IMPACT ON THE MEDIA
THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR, REPORT 2019-2020

In spite of flagging this point, the Bench takes no note of it in the final order, which
seems something of an anti-climax. It merely calls for the constitution of a special committee
to be headed by the Union Home Secretary, with the UT’s Chief Secretary on it. This
committee is directed to look into the points made by both sides in the case.
It should occasion little surprise that, given the quality of the two crucial judgments
in discussion – which go over the ground of media freedoms and the availability of
4G internet – the Jammu and Kashmir administration would have found itself in no way
constrained in declaring a media policy that may seem better suited to dictatorial regimes.

57
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

A s the preceding sections show, the Government’s prioritization of counter-insurgency


concerns over human security has led to an across the board violation of human
rights, including the vitiation of protections such as habeas corpus, prevention of illegal
detention, strict restrictions on arrest and detention of children, right to bail and fair and
speedy trial, and misuse of draconian legislation, such as the Public Safety Act (PSA) and
the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), to stifle dissent.
In the same manner, the 11 months of lockdown—comprising closures, barricades,
checkpoints and restrictions on mobile telephony and internet connectivity—have enormously
impacted public health, and caused trauma and stress amongst the people of Jammu and
Kashmir, violating the rights to health and medical care under the Indian, and Jammu and
Kashmir, constitutions. The rights of children to a trauma-free environment have been
arbitrarily ignored.
The impact on education has been particularly severe. Schools and colleges functioned
for barely 100 days between 2019 and 2020. After the pandemic lockdown, limiting
networks to 2G has made it impossible for online classes to function adequately. Graduate
students and teachers have been unable to participate in conferences or have their papers
published, causing wilful harm to their careers and violating the rights to education under
the Indian, and Jammu and Kashmir, constitutions.
Local and regional industries have suffered large losses in almost every sector. Companies
that are heavily or solely reliant on 4G networks that are available in the rest of the
country, such as tourism and cottage industries, have been forced out of business. The
new domicile rules introduced by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Jammu and
Kashmir administration, moreover, erode prior employment protections for permanent
residents of the former state.
The local media has been one of the worst sufferers. Journalists have been harassed and
even had draconian charges slapped on them, for example under the Unlawful Activities
Prevention Act (UAPA). Their content, readership and revenues have suffered such a
sharp decline that dozens of journalists have lost their jobs. The new media policy is a death
blow to an independent media and the freedom of expression.
Based on these findings, the Forum makes the recommendations listed below. They are
all eminently feasible, requiring chiefly a rollback of the August 2019 Jammu and Kashmir

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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR, REPORT 2019-2020

policy, and the measures that have followed from it, to the policy and practices that
prevailed earlier, in particular those espoused from 2000-2013. There is, indeed, a
considerable pool of administrative experience from that period that can be deployed to
not only respect human rights as they were respected then, but also to improve upon the
record of that time (which was a phase of conflict reduction and initial peace-building).

59
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR, REPORT 2019-2020

Recommendations
1. Release all remaining political detainees that were taken into preventive detention on or
after August 4, 2019. Strictly follow jurisprudence on the rights to bail and speedy trial.
2. Amend the Public Safety Act and any other preventive detention legislation so that
they cannot be misused against political opposition and remove all restrictions on
freedom of representation and expression.
3. Strictly implement juvenile protection legislation in letter and in spirit. Release all
detained juveniles and withdraw charges against them. Initiate enquiries followed by
criminal and civil actions against personnel of police, armed forces and paramilitary
forces found guilty of violation of child rights.
4. Withdraw charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act against journalists
and activists.
5. Curb the application of Section 144 to only those instances in which there is clear and
present danger. Ensure that District Magistrates strictly follow judicial guidelines
restricting the use of Section 144.
6. Balance security considerations against public interest, giving the upper hand to
the latter. In this connection, restore in practice the humanitarian guidelines to be
followed when conducting Cordon and Search Operations, to prevent civilian deaths,
injuries or any other damage or loss.
7. Adequately compensate innocent citizens whose houses have been destroyed in
Cordon and Search Operations.
8. Hold police and paramilitary personnel who harass civilians at checkpoints accountable.
9. Restore 4G internet and mobile services in toto. Noting that Jammu and Kashmir has
below average access of children to online facilities (see section on children and youth,
make additional efforts to provide access for such children.
10. Reinstate all the former state’s statutory oversight bodies, especially those monitoring
human rights, such as the Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission and the
Jammu and Kashmir Women and Child Rights Commission.
11. Ensure that police and paramilitary forces at checkpoints allow smooth passage for
medical personnel and patients. Where patients lack transport to hospital, provide aid
by making vehicles available.
12. Compensate local businesses that were forced to shut down due to the government
lockdown between August 2019 and March 2020 and ensure that they are given the
government aid they require to the fullest extent possible.
13. Rollback the new media policy and encourage all shades of opinion to be freely and
peacefully expressed.
Kashmir has in many ways been the litmus test of Indian democracy. As this report indicates,
we have failed miserably.

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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR, REPORT 2019-2020

List of abbreviations
BJP: Bharatiya Janata Party
CASO: Cordon and Search Operations
CRPF: Central Reserve Police Forces
DIPR: The Directorate of Public Information
GOJK: The Government of Jammu and Kashmir
IED: Improvised Explosive Device
MHA: The Ministry of Home Affairs
PSA: The Public Safety Act
SATP: South Asia Terrorism Portal
SC: Supreme Court of India
SOP: Standard Operating Protocol
UAPA: The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act

61
APPENDIX A
About the Forum for Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir

T he Forum for Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir comprises a group of concerned
citizens who believe that, in the prevailing situation in the former State, an independent
initiative is required so that human rights violations do not go unnoticed.

The aim of the Forum is to highlight, report, and seek action. It will focus primarily on
human rights protected by the constitutions of India and of Jammu and Kashmir, as well
as those identified in international treaties/instruments which India has ratified. It will
research evident violations, and may take suo motu note of any violation, irrespective of
whether or not a formal complaint is received. On issues of common concern, the Forum
may include Ladakh in its purview.

The Forum for Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir will receive information/materials
on human rights violations to its email hrforumjk@gmail.com and through other means,
and it may report/forward complaints to relevant authorities with recommendations
for action. Please note that this is not an adjudicatory body.

The members of the Forum for Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir take allegations of
inaccuracy, bias, or any other criticism founded in fact, very seriously. Criticism of this
nature will be considered and responded to in real time.

Short Bios of members of The Forum for Human Rights in alphabetical order:
Enakshi Ganguly is a human rights activist, writer and researcher. Beginning her career at
the Indian Social Institute in 1985, she was Deputy Director of the Multiple Action Research
Group (MARG), worked with Mobile Creches and the Population Council and co-founded
the HAQ Centre for Child Rights in 1998. She is currently advisor to HAQ and a free-
lance consultant. She is the President of the Society for Rural, Urban Tribal Initiatives
(SRUTI) and on the boards of the Gender Centre of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy for
Administration (LBSNAA) and National Centre for Advocacy Studies (NCAS). Ms. Ganguly
was a member of the Steering Committee of the Planning Commission for the Eleventh and
Twelfth Five Year Plans and a technical expert for several UN agencies. In 2003, she was
awarded the Ashoka Fellowship and has been profiled in a book entitled WOMANKIND: Faces
of Change Around the World by Donna Nebenzahl and Nance Ackerman (Raincoast
Books: 2003). In 2019, she was awarded the REX Karmaveer Chakra award instituted
by iCONGO in Partnership with the United Nations.

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APPENDIX A
THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR, REPORT 2019-2020

Ramachandra Guha is a historian and biographer based in Bengaluru. He has taught at


the universities of Yale and Stanford, held the Arné Naess Chair at the University of Oslo,
and served as the Philippe Roman Professor of History and International Affairs at
the London School of Economics. In 2019-20 he held the Satish Dhawan Chair in the
humanities at the Indian Institute of Science. Guha’s books include a pioneering
environmental history, The Unquiet Woods (University of California Press, 1989), an award-
winning social history of cricket, A Corner of a Foreign Field (Picador, 2002), and a best-selling
history of independent India, India after Gandhi (Macmillan/Ecco Press, 2007). His most
recent work is a two-volume biography of Mahatma Gandhi: Gandhi Before India (2013), and
Gandhi: The Years that Changed the World (2018).
Air Vice Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak served in the Indian Air Force in the flying branch for
over three decades and undertook combat missions in the India-Pakistan War of 1971.
For ‘distinguished service of exceptional order’, the President of India awarded him the
Ati Vishist Seva Medal, as well as the Vishist Seva Medal. A former Deputy Director at
the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, and Advisor (Strategic
Studies) at the University of Jammu, Air Marshal Kapil Kak is the Founding Additional
Director of the Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi, and is closely associated with
the Track II initiatives of multiple public policy think tanks on the India-Pakistan peace
process, and conflict resolution and peace building in Jammu and Kashmir. He is a member
of the University Council of Cluster University, Jammu; Board of National Security
Studies, Central University, Jammu, and on the Board of Directors of the New Delhi-based
Healing Minds Foundation.
Radha Kumar (co-chair) is former Director General of the Delhi Policy Group (2010-2015)
and a specialist on peace and security. Earlier Director of the Mandela Centre for Peace at
Jamia Millia Islamia University, Dr. Kumar was also Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign
Relations in New York, Warren Weaver Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation, Associate
Fellow at the Institute for War and Peace Studies at Columbia University and Executive
Director of the Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly in Prague. She has served on the boards of
the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Foundation for Communal
Harmony and is currently a member of the United Nations University Council (which
she chaired from 2016-19), and Board member of the Stockholm International Peace
Research Institute (SIPRI). She was a member of the three-person Group of Interlocutors for
Jammu and Kashmir appointed by the Government of India (2010-11), who prepared
the report titled A New Compact for Jammu and Kashmir. Dr. Kumar’s latest books are
A Gender Atlas of India (Sage: 2018) and Paradise at War: A Political History of Kashmir
(Aleph: 2018).
Justice Madan Lokur (co-chair) graduated in law from Delhi University in 1977 and joined
the Bar immediately thereafter. He was appointed Additional Solicitor General of Delhi
in 1998 and judge of the Delhi High Court in 1999, and as Chief Justice of the Gauhati
High Court in 2009 and of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2011. In June 2012, he

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APPENDIX A
THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR, REPORT 2019-2020

was appointed judge of the Supreme Court. After his retirement in December 2018, he
was appointed judge of the Supreme Court of Fiji in January 2019 and took the oath of
office in August. Justice Lokur’s expertise includes alternative dispute resolution
mechanisms (such as arbitration and mediation), legal aid, judicial education, child rights
and human rights.
Justice Hasnain Masoodi is a former judge of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and
a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament), from the
Anantnag constituency of Jammu and Kashmir.
Major General (Retd.) Ashok Kumar Mehta retired from the Indian army in 1991. He
served in Uri, south of the Pir Panjal in Rajouri, and in the Kargil and Ladakh sectors. He
fought in the 1965 and 1971 India-Pakistan wars, both in the eastern and western theatres
of the conflict. He also commanded the Indian Peace-Keeping Force in Sri Lanka, fought
counter-insurgency operations in Nagaland, and engaged in UN Peacekeeping Operations
in 1962-63. He returned to Jammu & Kashmir in 1988 as a member of the Defence Planning
Staff, Ministry of Defence. He has subsequently visited Jammu and Kashmir after
retirement in 1993 and in mid-2000 as part of Track II assignments. In 2003, he became
the convenor of an annual India Pakistan conference which continued almost uninterrupted
till 2018.
Justice Bilal Nazki is a former Chief Justice of the High Court of Orissa and has served
as judge in the high courts of Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Bombay, and as
Advocate General of Jammu and Kashmir. He was Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir
State Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Commission of Bihar and
headed the committee set up by the Government of India to review the functioning of the
Haj Committee of India and its state units. He has been President of the Andhra Pradesh
State Judicial Academy, Chancellor of National Academy of Legal Studies & Research
University (NALSAR), Hyderabad, and Executive Chairman of the Andhra Pradesh State
Legal Services Authority.
Justice Ruma Pal is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India (2000-2006) as well as
of the Calcutta High Court. She has served as Chancellor of Sikkim University, Executive
Council member of the International Academy of Law, Executive Chairperson of the National
Services Authority, Chairperson of the Academic Council of the Indian Law Institute,
Executive Council member of the National Judicial Academy and the WB National University
of Juridical Sciences. She is a member of the International Association of Women Judges
and advisor to the Asia Pacific Forum on Equality Issues, as well as member of the
Committee of experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations,
International Labour Organization.
Lieutenant General (retd.) H S Panag is former GOC-in-C of the army’s Northern Command,
Udhampur, and Central Command, Lucknow. He is experienced in both counter-insurgency

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APPENDIX A
THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR, REPORT 2019-2020

and high-altitude operations, and has served as an Instructor in the Indian Military
Officers’ Training Academy, commanded an Infantry brigade, the 31 Armoured Division
and the XXI Corps, the strike formation of the Southern Command. Post-retirement he was
appointed an Administrative Member of the Armed Forces Tribunal, Chandigarh Bench.
His awards include the Param Vishisht Seva Medal and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal. He is a
frequent contributor to the media on strategic and military affairs and an expert on Chinese
strategic planning.
Amitabha Pande is a former member of the Punjab Cadre of the Indian Administrative
Service who retired in 2008 as the Secretary of the Inter State Council of the Government
of India, a constitutional machinery for federal policy coordination, diversity management
and consensus building between the Union of India and the states, and among the states.
The Council represents India in the Forum of Federations – an international organisation
for the promotion of federalism with headquarters in Ottawa, Canada. He has written
several articles on the subject of intergovernmental relations in India, with a focus on the
dynamics of the interplay between democracy, diversity, identity and the idea of a monolithic
‘nation state’. He also had a long stint in the Ministry of Defence involving close interaction
with the armed forces. That and his experience in Punjab during its most troubled period
has given him insights into security related issues which have a bearing on the current
situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Gopal Pillai is a former member of the Kerala Cadre of the Indian Administrative Service,
who retired as Union Home Secretary in June 2011. He has served as Under Secretary/Deputy
Secretary in the Defence Ministry, Deputy Secretary Labour, Kerala Special Secretary for
Industries, Secretary Health and Family Welfare, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister
of Kerala, Joint Secretary (North East) in the Home Ministry, Additional Secretary in the
Department of Commerce, Special Secretary in Commerce, and Secretary in the Department
of Commerce, before becoming Union Home Secretary (2009-11). As Union Home
Secretary, he dealt closely with security, political, legal and humanitarian issues relating to
Jammu and Kashmir. Along with the then Home Minister, he instituted the Multi-Agency
Centre for security and intelligence coordination between the Centre and States (MAC),
and floated the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and the Crime and Criminal
Tracking Network System (CCTNS).
Justice Anjana Prakash is a former judge of the Patna High Court (2009-2016). She has
practiced law since 1982 and is currently a senior advocate based out of Delhi. She is
also a frequent contributor of opinion pieces on constitutional issues in journals, such as
Live Law, and newspapers, including The Wire. In early 2020 she served as amicus curiae to
the Supreme Court on the death penalty for the Nirbhaya rape-murder convicts.
Nirupama Rao was Foreign Secretary in the Government of India (2009-2011) and earlier
served as Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs; she was High Commissioner
of India in Sri Lanka and Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. She was

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APPENDIX A
THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR, REPORT 2019-2020

Ambassador of India to the United States from 2011 to 2013. On retirement, Rao was a
Fellow at Brown University and also taught there from 2015-16. She was George Ball Adjunct
Professor at Columbia University in Fall 2018. In 2019, she was a Pacific Leadership Fellow
at UC San Diego. She is a Global Fellow of The Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC
and Councillor of the World Refugee Council. She is a frequent contributor of opinion pieces
on foreign policy and global affairs to a number of Indian media outlets.

Moosa Raza is a polyglot and a respected scholar of Islam who has been Principal Secretary
to the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Chief Secretary in Jammu and Kashmir, Adviser to the
Governor of Uttar Pradesh, and Secretary to the Government of India in the Cabinet
Secretariat and in the Ministry of Steel. Currently, he is the chairman of the South
Indian Educational Trust (SIET), which runs six educational institutions, and of the
Executive Committee of Coastal Energen Pvt. Ltd. In 2010, he was honoured with the Padma
Bhushan. His latest book is Kashmir: Land of Regrets (Context:2019).

Anand K. Sahay is a columnist who has held senior positions at the Patriot, Times of India,
The Hindu, BITV, Hindustan Times and Asian Age and written for the Indian Express, Times of
India, Economic Times, The Wire and the Citizen. He reported and commented for the BBC
in New Delhi and London and was a Kabul-based advisor to the Afghanistan Times. He
reported the fall of Gorbachev and end of communism out of Moscow, the dismantling
of apartheid and the first all-race election in South Africa and the transfer of Hong Kong
to China, as well as insurgency and militant politics in Kashmir, Punjab and Assam. He
has been visiting professor at the Nehru Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia University and
guest lecturer at the National Defence College. He is currently president of the Press Club
of India.

Probir Sen joined the Indian Administrative Service after graduating from Cambridge,
and retired as Secretary to the Government of India and Secretary General of the National
Human Rights Commission. During the course of his career he headed a large number of
organizations, including Indian Airlines and Air India. After retirement he was appointed
Director, India International Centre and subsequently served on the Boards of a number of
corporations, companies, trusts and NGOs. He possesses wide exposure to issues relating
to management, organizational development and leadership.

Justice Ajit Prakash Shah served as a judge of the Bombay High Court and later as Chief
Justice of Madras and Delhi High Courts. After retirement, he headed the Twentieth Law
Commission of India (2013-2015), which submitted 19 reports, including on the Arbitration
and Conciliation Act, commercial courts, electoral reforms and the death penalty.
He has been Chairperson of the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), a self-
regulatory body appointed by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation, and member of the
Governing Council appointed by the Ministry of Law and Justice for judicial reforms. He
also served as member of the Expert Committee of the International Labour Organization

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APPENDIX A
THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR, REPORT 2019-2020

for implementation of ILO Conventions by member countries and headed a Committee


appointed by the Planning Commission for drafting the Privacy and Data Protection
Laws. He is nominated as the Commissioner in the International Commission of Jurists
(ICJ). He has also acted as ombudsman for sports bodies such as the Board for Cricket
Control in India.
Dr. R D Sharma is a business education expert and former Vice Chancellor of Jammu
University (2015-2018). He has written extensively on business education and management
over his forty-year career as a teacher, and has guided over fifty M Phil and Ph D
students. He was also Vice Chancellor of Noida International University, Chairman of the
JK Board of Professional Examinations and a Fullbright Scholar. Besides publications in
business education, Sharma also co-edited a book entitled Politics of Autonomy in Jammu and
Kashmir.
Shantha Sinha, is the Founder Secretary of M V Foundation which withdrew over a million
children from child labour and enabled completion of their education up to class 10. She
headed the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights as its first Chairperson
for two consecutive terms from 2007-2013. She also served as a Professor, Department
of Political Science, University of Hyderabad. She is a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay
Award, 2003, for community leadership and was awarded the Padma Shri in 1998 by
the Government of India.
Hindal Haidar Tyabji joined the J&K cadre of the IAS in 1965. He has served in the State
Govt. as well as the Central Govt. in a variety of positions. He was Chief Secretary Jammu
and Kashmir during the Governor’s Rule of General Krishna Rao in 1994. In 1995, he
moved to the Ministry of Home Affairs (Department of Justice) as Additional Secretary.
He returned to the state in October 1996 when an elected government was sworn in and
headed the state’s Agriculture and Rural Development departments. He took premature
retirement in 1998 to take up a 5-year assignment as the Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir
Public Service Commission. In August 2008, he returned to Jammu and Kashmir to serve
as an Adviser to the then Governor Shri NN Vohra. After the period of Governor’s Rule
ended and the newly elected government was sworn in he returned to Delhi where he and
his wife reside.

67
APPENDIX B

APPENDIX B

THE KASHMIR CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY


TABLE A
Estimates for 10 districts of the Valley for 120 days starting August 5, 2019

SUBSECTOR SECTOR COL 3 COL 4 COL 5 NET LOSS

Previous Previous year Interpolating In Rs. Crores


year (2017- contribution the annual
18) annual at 60% from output for a
economic 10 districts duration of im-
output from of Kashmir pact (120 days
entire J&K Valley (60% of of peak sea-
(Sub Sector col 3) son). Assuming
Specified) contribution
(approx in 40% of the
Rs. Crores) at annual output
current prices (40% of col 4)
Agriculture/ Agriculture 15,119 8,315 3,326 499 2,727
Horticulture/
Other
Livestock 9,435 5,189 2,076 311 1,764
Forestry/Logging
Fishing/ Allied
Aquaculture Services
Manufacturing 11,211 6,166 2,466 2,468
Construction 8,712 4,792 1,917 287 1,629
Mining/Quarrying Industries
Electricity, gas,
water and other
utility services
Trade/Hotel/ 13,983 7,690 3,076 461 2,615
Restaurant
Transport/ 12,125 6,669 2,667 400 2,267
Communication
Financial Services Services 6,331 3,482 1,393 209 1,184
Real Estate/ 16,712 9,192 3,677 551 3,125
Ownership
of Dwelling &
Professional
Services
Public
Administration and
Defence
Other Services
TOTAL EST. LOSS 17,878.18

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APPENDIX A
THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR, REPORT 2019-2020

THE KASHMIR CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY


TABLE B

S. SECTORWISE PER DAY 120 DAYS JOB LOSS-


NO ES
1 Tourism 8,80,27,200 10,56,32,64,000 74,500
2 Handicrafts/Kashmiri Carpets 6,00.81,667 7,20,98,00,040 70,000
3 Horticulture/Floriculture/Agriculture/ 16,66,66,667 20,00,00,00,040 12,000
sericulture
4 Industry 21,00,00,000 25,20,00,00,000 70,000
5 General Trade 26,48,33,334 31,78,00,00,080 1,20,000
6 Transport 13,43,00,000 16,11,60,00,000 60,000
7 Contractors and Infrastructural 13,33,33,334 16,00,00,00,080 20,000
Construction & Power Projects, etc
8 Medical & Healthcare 45,00,000 54,00,00,000 2,500
9 Service Sector 5,81,00,000 6,97,20,00,000 66,000
10 Education Sector 40,00,000 48,00,00,000 0
11 Finance SEctor 6,75,00,000 8,10,00,00,000 1,000
TOTAL 1,19,13,42,202 1,42,96,10,64,240 4,96,000

69
APPENDIX C

APPENDIX C
THE FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR

Questionnaire
1. What is the impact of the several lockdowns since August 2019 in JK? Is there a distinction be-
tween pre-Covid and current Covid conditions and what is it?
2. How does the lack of functioning internet impact on you? Would 4G make a substantive differ-
ence?
3. JK has suffered several lockdowns over the past decades. Are there lessons learned from previous
experiences for the present situation?
4. What impact do the lockdown and communications closures have on your work?
5. Any other observations you would like to make?

Name:
Designation:
Address:
Telephone number/email:
Your details are required for our records. They will be kept confidential. If we wish to quote you, we
will seek your permission in writing.
Please send completed questionnaires to hrforumjk@gmail.com

70 70